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Sunday, July 28, 2013

The 25 Richest People Who Ever Lived

This list is biased toward Americans and Englishmen. I'm sure there are many others who deserve to be in the top 25. There are other problems; for example, property values in the middle ages are probably inflated. Nevertheless, it's an interesting list of men (no women). They are ranked by their estimated net worth in 2012 inflation-adjusted American dollars. You can find out more details at: The 25 Richest People Who Ever Lived – Inflation Adjusted.

There don't appear to be any scientists (or philosophers) on the list. Three of my ancestors are on the list (#6, #15, and #16) but I didn't inherit a penny.
  1. Mansa Musa I of Mali (1280-1337): $400 billion
  2. The Rothschild family: $350 billion
  3. John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937): $340 billion
  4. Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919): $310 billion
  5. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (1868-1918): $300 billion
  6. Mir Osman Ali Khan (1886-1967): $230 billion
  7. William The Conqueror (1028-1087): $229.5 billion
  8. Muammar Gaddafi (1942-2011): $200 billion
  9. Henry Ford (1863-1947): $199 billion
  10. Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877): $185 billion
  11. Alan Rufus (1040-1093): $178.65 billion
  12. Bill Gates (1955 - ): $136 billion
  13. William de Warenne ( -1088) $147.13 billion
  14. John Jacob Astor (176-1848): $121 billion
  15. Richard FitzAlan (1306-1376): $118.6 billion
  16. John of Gaunt (1340-1399): $110 billion
  17. Stephen Girard (1750-1831): $105 billion
  18. Alexander Turney ("A.T.") Stewart (1803-1876): $90 billion
  19. Henry of Grosmont (Duke of Lancaster) (1310-1361): $85.5 billion
  20. Friedrich Weyerhauser (1834-1914): $80 billion
  21. Jay Gould (1836-1892): $71 billion
  22. Carlos Slim Helu (1940- ): $68 billion
  23. Stephen Van Rensselaer (1764-1839): $68 billion
  24. Marshall Field (1834-1906): $66 billion
  25. Samuel ("Sam") Moore Walton (1918-1992): $65 billion
  26. Warren Buffett (1930 - ): $64 billion


  1. I don't see Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim on the list who is alleged to be the richest man in the world at present, ahead of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

    1. My mistake, Carlos Slim is #22 on the list, although other sources place him above Bill Gates. The figure given for Gates seems to high.

    2. That's because of the 1999 DotCom bubble, the list above is taken from their peak net worth.

  2. Love that the illustration of Mansa Musa is from the game serives Civilization!
    Seems to be two classes of people on the list, royals and merchants.

  3. I always have my suspicions about how these "adjustments" are figured that far back.

  4. Once again, women make less than men.

    1. Noy as prostitutes and models. How is that fair?

    2. We should give each woman on earth 10 million dollars to rectify this past injustice!

  5. This is a stupid and wrong list.
    William the Norman did not have that money. It wasn't there however computed. All the leaders of all the ancient worlds were poorer then William?
    Solomon was richer then anyone back in the day.
    A true incompetence in understanding wealth is going on with the listers.
    \In no way should it be so British.

    Is the lost here sURE he's related to these ancient famous people? Its not from internet tracking I hope? Even related to the muslim guy!

    Anyways its about the wealth of the common man in nations/ etc and then the wealth of the winners.
    Some guy having/stealing all the money did not create the wealth or really hold it.

    This list is bogus. Its like those who push vitamins as supplements.
    Comparing the ages is impossible with wealth.

  6. Robert Byers says,

    Solomon was richer then anyone back in the day.

    Read the comments on the website.

    The problem with Solomon is that he may not have existed. Imaginary rich people aren't eligible to be on the list. (King Midas is also missing.)

    Even if there actually was a King Solomon, the only evidence we have of his wealth is what's written in the Bible and we know for a fact that this is a very unreliable source.

    1. Its a reliable source and this is a fact to many of us.
      The bible is a witness. its a written statement of a witness to events as used today in courts I believe.
      Its a witness in good standing until shown otherwise.
      It doesn't mean its the truth but its a witness.
      Someone is trying to persuade a audience this and that happened. tHey are putting their integrity on the line.

    2. Its a reliable source and this is a fact to many of us.

      Ah booby, there are numerous claims made in the babble that have no evidence to support them.

      1. The Noahian flood never happened. There is not a jot or a tittle of archeological evidence for such an event as described in the babble.

      2. The sun did not stand still in the sky for a day. There is not a jot or a tittle of evidence supporting such an event, which, by the way would violate the laws of physics. In particular, there is no mention of such an event in the writings of other civilizations in existence at the time of Joshua.

      3. The Exodus never happened. There is no archeological evidence to support such an event. In fact, the notion that it took 17 years for the Israelites to cross the Sinai Desert, a distance of 100 miles from the present Suez Canal to the Israeli border, is preposterous. What were they doing, marching in circles for 17 years? Further there is evidence that the claim that the pyramids were built by Hebrew slaves is totally false.

    3. Of course the Noachian flood is nonsense, but archeology is probably not the right place to be looking. Geology says no, but anthropology says yes. Well, anthrolopology says something about world-wide floods, but it's probably heresay.

      "There is not a jot or a tittle of evidence supporting such an event...which would violate the laws of physics." This is a tautology: events which truly violate the laws of physics cannot have supporting evidence. Conversely, events which seem to have evidence might not be violating physical laws. Anyway, the whole point of the sun standing still was that it was a miracle, and thus beyond physical laws. So, if you are claiming that miracles are impossible then I congratulate for making that observation; so may miss the point. I laughed doubly hard when I heard that old calumny that NASA had calculated that the sun stood still in the sky one day back in the Bronze Age. So then, it was just an event, like an eclipse? Was some charlatan fooling the masses like Tenskwatawa? "Observe; the sun is growing dark! Behold my divine power!"

      Most scholars would disagree with you about Exodus never happening. Certainly the details are dubious, but Egypt was in the habit of enslaving Hebrews en masse. Is it so hard to believe that some of them managed to return home generations later to establish the founding national myth? A similar event would occur later under the Babylonian captivity. Archaeology shows Hebrews were already living in Palestine in their own communities when Moses was supposedly marching about in the desert, but the idea of a small group of Yahwe-worshippers making the trek from Egypt to return home is a powerful and very memorable story, which in time could easily have been adopted by all Hebrews as their own heritage.

      John Vreeland

  7. I think you inadvertently switched between the Rothschilds and the Rockfellers.

  8. I once discovered I was descended from the brother of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke (8th Creation) from the Wars of the Roses. My mother thought that was pretty keen, but I couldn't help noticing that about six million other people are also probably descended from him. Or one person six million times over. Or something in between. It's simply an accident of history that this one connection to him contained people middle-class enough to have records kept about them.

    I also can't help noticing that Herbert's own ancestry is entirely fictitious, grafting his great-grandfather to some Norman fitz Herbert roots. I was more impressed by the fact that he came from nothing.

  9. Marcus Licinius Crassus Dives owned half of Rome circa 60 BC and a fair chunk of Italy. He once said that nobody was truly rich who could not raise and pay for his own army (and not notice the financial hit). He once funded, on his own, an invasion of Parthia (which failed horribly but not for lack of cash). Not a lot of people on the above list can fund an army large enough to be a serious threat to a world power.

    As to the lack of women, I'd have to research the name, but circa 1580 one heiress owned estates so vast in Spain that you could walk across the country without leaving her land.

    Julius Caesar sacked all of Gaul and parts of Britain and Germany. He sold approximately a million people into slavery - admittedly at reduced prices. I think he might make the list.

    Oh, I see they researched it for a whole week!

    William Hyde

  10. Crassus isn't a bad candidate. Not Caesar though, whatever funds he got were mostly immediately dispersed to build up his political influence.

    I was thinking Seneca. His private fortune was equal to approximately one year's budget for the Empire.

    Byers posts here, too? ugh!

    And virtually no scholar,unless they have to profess for sectarian reasons (which would be good grounds for not defining such a person as a scholar), thinks anything like the exodus ever happened.