June 24, 2024
Mansa Musa, the wealthiest man ever, distributing gold during his pilgrimage to Mecca.

A modest fortune in their day, these fortunes were so extravagant as to surpass the wealth of even today’s billionaires (or at least what we know of them): [] From ancient emperors to modern industrialists, these figures have wielded power over economies and helped shaped the destiny of nations with their vast wealth. This article is an attempt to find out the lives and the legacy of some of the richest human beings who ever lived, and thus have scraped or created the wealthiest empires during the centuries of our existence.

Augustus Caesar, the first Roman Emperor, overseeing the expansion of the Roman Empire.

1. Mansa Musa (1280–1337)

The Wealthiest Man Ever

In the 14th century, the richest human to have ever lived was Mansa Musa, or Musa I of Mali — the emperor of the Mali Empire. It would now be estimated that his actual net worth, adjusted for inflation, is somewhere in the range of $400 billion. He made his fortunes thanks to the natural resources in his empire, specifically gold and salt. (Mali was the largest producer of salt in the world, folks.) In the year 1324, while on his renowned pilgrimage to Mecca, he handed out so much gold that — according to reports — it affected the price of the metal in Egypt for over a decade.

2. John D. Rockefeller III (1906–1978)

The Oil Tycoon

Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller is widely considered the wealthiest American billionaire of all time. Using 1990 dollars, it would have been worth about $340 billion. He quickly had a monopoly and developed his savings into a string of companies that made him into one of the wealthiest men on Earth based on the oil prosperity of Rockefeller. It came to own about 90 percent of the oil refineries and pipelines in the United States. The wealthy oil magnate Rockefeller rewarded the same charitable concern while displaying unscrupulous business tactics.

3. Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919)

The Steel Magnate

In the late 19th century, Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie led the massive expansion of the American steel industry. At today’s dollar value, his $950 million is estimated at $310 billion. Most of Carnegie’s fortune was made in the steel industry, buying out fellow industrialist Andrew Kloman’s fledgling U.S. Investments firm in 1901 for $480 million, and renamining it to Carnegie Steel. Carnegie was a vocal proponent of charitable giving, famously stating “The man who dies thus partaitogel rich dies disgraced.” He gave away the majority of his wealth to create libraries, universities, and lots more other stuff.

4. Crassus, Marcus Licinius (115–53 BC)

Gaius Marius (157BC) Roman General/Poltician

Roman General & Politician, Marcus Licinius Crassus is reputed to be the richest man in ancient history He smashed it as a real estate speculator, slave trader, and the fortunate winner of several lucrative silver mines earning his neat $210 billion today. Crassus was a member of the First Triumvirate with Julius Caesar and Pompey. He had so much money at one time he could appoint the governors of the various Roman states, but many of his exploits especially his ambition ended with the Battle of Carrhae, where he also fell.

Rich History: Andrew Carnegie, the steel magnate, in front of a Carnegie Steel factory.

5. Augustus Caesar (63 BCE–14 CE)

The First Roman Emperor

The wealthiest person in all of history so far, is Augustus Caesar, with a fortune calculated at around $4.6 trillion (in 2017 money) While Egypt alone was among the richest provinces in the empire, his riches stemmed from the totality of the territory he ruled. The consolidation of territories by Augustus raised the Roman Principate and the maintenance of a period of relative peace and prosperity called the Pax Romana. The his sound fiscal policy and administrative reforms aided to strengthen the economic structure of the empire.

6. Akbar the Great (1542–1605)

The Mughal Emperor

After all, Akbar the Great was the rich ruler of the most opulent empire in the world at that time. In today’s money, that would be almost $21 trillion The Mughal Empire of Akbar was one of the richest and most powerful empires in the world, and the economy of which was agrarian, flourishing and revenue collection was too high. He is also famous for his fortune and for unifying his diverse empire through religious tolerance and cultural integration.

7. Genghis Khan (1162–1227)

The Mongol Conqueror

Genghis Khan, the emperor who established the mongol empire through gore-sticky-wars across China and Europe all the way, was also rich. The Mongols opened up, and maintained, communications around the entire Old World which widened the opportunities for and expanse of long distance trade bringing the old worlds into a fruitful exchange of goods, knowledge, culture and technology. Genghis Khan remains unsurpassed as a military strategist and empire builder.

8. Henry Ford (1863–1947)

The Automobile Pioneer

Ford Motor Company was founded by Henry Ford who changed the way cars were manufactured. With the advent of assembly line production. fiat-adjusted net worth $200 billion Ford’s ingenious manufacturing methods made cars cheap enough for the average worker, rewriting the fabric of transportation and re-shaping society. With his wealth he used his far reach into various areas of American industry. And culture and his legacy endures in the pantheon of pillars of the automotive world.

9. Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794–1877)Born to a working-class family in 1794, Vanderbilt emerged from rural areas in the northeastern United States when he undertook duty for his country during the War of 1812.

The Commodore

He was one of the richest Americans in history, an empire built on shipping and the railways and coasts named after him. At today’s dollars, his net worth was roughly $185 billion. Vanderbilt rose from humble beginnings and gained his wealth through the shipping and the railroads. He became an important developer in the American transportation history, and he endowed a multitude of significant philanthropic enterprises in the United States, most notably the construction of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

10. Bill Gates (1955–Present)

The Tech Titan

Bill Gates – the richest man of modern times, who is also a co-founder of Microsoft. On and off, due to inflation, his net worth has been about $130 billion. Gates is endowed with a fortune assembled through Microsoft, which was the largest software company in the personal computer industry. In addition to being founding chairman of the Gates Archive, which is dedicated to preserving and making publicly available the personal and philanthropic works of the Gates family, Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation was created in 2000 and is focused on global health, education, and poverty.

John D. Rockefeller, the oil tycoon, in his office with documents related to Standard Oil.

11. Elon Musk (1971–Present)

The Visionary Entrepreneur

Elon Musk, the man behind Tesla, Space-X and a few other companies, is probably one of the most influential entrepreneurs in the 21st century. Driven primarily by the success of his Tesla electric vehicle venture, SpaceX space exploration company. And various investments in renewable energy, he has peaked his net worth over $100 billion several times. A key figure in the innovation of modern technology, Musk dreams of colonizing Mars, renewable energy solutions and the development of artificial intelligence advancing.


The world’s richest people in history led lives that provide fascinating boundaries for understanding. The aggregation and consequence of phenomenal wealth. These men and women from ancient emperors to modern industry titans built economies, influenced the flow of politics. And left a lasting influence on the world. Their tales of how they amassed their wealth through conquest, innovation and, industry and investment alike remind us. How one single human being is capable of having an immense impact on the world. The lessons of these men, along with their legacies, continue to form the foundation for what wealth is and what it means to us as we move forward into the future. If you like reading this article, please consider reading our article about Walk.

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