Meet The 10 Richest Men In History

We all follow yearly lists of the richest and most powerful in our current world, but have you ever thought that these men aren’t necessarily the richest or most powerful in history? Fortunes worth more than 200 billion USD always existed, so in this short article, we’re introducing you to top 10 richest men in history (so far), their countries of origin, their trades, their eras and their respective net worth in ascending order:
10- Cornelius Vanderbilt, $185 Billion
American shipping magnate and financier Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794 – 1877). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

One of the most famous names in American history was built by Cornelius Vanderbilt, a man who came to fortune through the building of railroads and shipping lines during the 1800s. He is also the founder of Vanderbilt University and his family name still carries much clout today. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper is even a part of the Vanderbilt family. During his heyday, Cornelius Vanderbilt’s wealth reached an approximate $185 billion, most of it accumulated later in life as he expanded his railroad empire following the Civil War.

9- Henry Ford, $199 Billion
The famous Henry Ford, most famous industrialist of all times, standing in front of one of his vehicles – Hulton Archive / Getty Images

One of the major figures in American business history, Henry Ford was able to put together a net worth totaling just under $200 billion. Ford, of course, is known for founding Ford Motor Co. and bringing automobiles to the masses. A transportation revolutionary, he also was a trailblazer in industry and business, instituting higher wages for his workers and developing the concept of the assembly line, which allowed for the manufacture of inexpensive goods that the masses could afford.

8- Muammar Gaddafi, $200 Billion
ROME – AUGUST 29: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi arrives at the Ciampino airport on August 29, 2010 in Rome, Italy. Gadaffi is on an official two-day visit to Italy for talks with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The visit also marks the second anniversary of a friendship treaty between Italy and Lybia. (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

One person who most readers are likely familiar with is Muammar Gaddafi, the recently deceased and overthrown ruler of the northern African country of Libya. Gaddafi is said to have controlled a vast fortune of $200 billion, amassed during his 42-year rule over Libya. A highly controversial and divisive politician and ruler, Gaddafi was famously overthrown in 2011 during the Libyan civil war, when he was dragged into the streets and killed by revolutionaries.

7- William the Conqueror, $209 Billion to $229 Billion
Circa 1070, King William I of England (1027 – 1087), also known as William the Conquerer. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

William the Conqueror’s wealth has been estimated to be between $209 billion and $229 billion. Best known for becoming the first Norman king of England, William reigned from 1066 until 1087. He led the final successful invasion of England, becoming a monarch after setting out to depose of one. He was also known as William the Bastard and is thought to have been a descendant of viking invaders from years before, which explains where he got his knack for invasion.

6- Jakob Fugger, $221 Billion
1511, Jakob Fugger (1459 – 1525), the merchant and banker whose immense wealth enabled the Fuggers to become financiers to the courts of Europe and people of considerable political power. From the ‘Merchants in German History’. Drawn by Hans Burgkmair. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A relatively obscure historical figure compared to many other members of the world’s wealthiest, Jakob Fugger nonetheless was able to hoard $221 billion through his merchant and banking activities. Fugger lived from 1459 until 1525, having been both born and dying in Augsburg, Germany. The Fugger fortune was made through textile trading in Italy mostly, but also through the mining of silver and gold in Hungary and Bohemia.

5- Mir Osman Ali Khan, $230 Billion
An Indian member of staff walks in front of an entrance to the Jewel of The Nizams “Falaknuma Palace” which was the former residence of Nizam Mehaboob Ali Khan in the old city area of Hyderabad on November 4, 2010. After 10 years of extensive restoration, The Taj Falaknuma Palace has opened on November 1, 2010. AFP PHOTO/Noah SEELAM (Photo credit should read NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)

You may never have heard of Mir Osman Ali Khan, but he was without a doubt one of the wealthiest people the world has ever known. As ruler of the Hyderabad State in India, he grew his riches to a total of $230 billion. He became Nizam of Hyderabad after his father died in 1911 and reigned for 37 years, overseeing the expansion of education, electricity, and railroads in the region. He died in 1967, survived by his reported 149 children.

4- Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov, $300 Billion
Workers prepare the plinth (L), where the monument of the last Russian Emperor, Tsar Nicholas II, will be placed in Belgrade on October 13, 2014. According to local media reports, the monument will be unveiled later this year during a ceremony marking the WWI centenary and is a donation by the Russian Federation. On October 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit and attend a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of Belgrade’s liberation from fascist occupation. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Known as Tsar Nicholas II, Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov amassed $300 billion worth of wealth during his tenure. Nicholas II is probably most famous for being the last emperor of Russia before the country fell during the Russian Revolution. Both he and his family were eventually executed in 1918. Notably, Nicholas II became a saint recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church, and is known as the wealthiest saint in human history.

3- Andrew Carnegie, $310 Billion
Scottish-born US industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835 – 1919) (centre) during the making of a film in the grounds of his home. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Andrew Carnegie, an incredibly wealthy and powerful industrialist, came to prominence during the mid-1800s by way of the steel industry. Having been born in Scotland, Carnegie came from a very poor family that entered the United States in the late 1840s. After successfully investing in a number of ventures, Carnegie founded the U.S. Steel Corp., which earned him most of his $310 billion fortune. He is also known for giving away almost all of it, and is remembered as one of the world’s foremost philanthropists.

2- John D. Rockefeller, $340 Billion
circa 1930: American industrialist J D Rockefeller (John Davidson Rockefeller, 1839 – 1937) working on a document at his desk. (Photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)

The Rockefeller name is deeply ingrained in American history, and John D. Rockefeller’s $340 billion fortune still stands today as nearly the largest the world has ever seen. Born in 1839 in New York, he grew to prominence over his lifetime as the co-founder of Standard Oil. As one of the revolutionaries of the energy and petroleum industries, Rockefeller is also well known for his philanthropy, founding two colleges during his lifetime, the University of Chicago and Rockefeller University. He died in 1937 at the age of 97.

1- Mansa Musa, $400 Billion
Mansa Musa of Mali (ruler) – Richest man who ever walked the earth – 1280 to 1337

Far and away the richest man to ever walk the face of the Earth was Mansa Muda, or Musa I of Mali. As the reigning emperor of the Mali empire, Musa commanded a fortune worth a jaw-dropping $400 billion. That’s worth more than four times the current richest person in the world, to put things in perspective. Musa was born in 1280 and lived until 1337 as a devout Muslim, constructing numerous educational centers and mosques across Africa, one of which can be seen above, in Timbuktu. Being as that Musa’s reign was so long ago, there are still varying reports about his death and abdication of the throne to his son. However, no one has been able to come even close to the amount of wealth Musa presided over.

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(Credits: Most pictures in this article are from Getty Images, and all information are imported from

The Luxury Makers
top luxury consultant patricia issa

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