25 Richest People Who Ever Lived

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#9 Henry Ford – $199 Billion

Ford motor company founder Henry Ford built an iconic brand which we all still know and see today. At the time of death in 1947, he had accumulated a net worth equivalent to $199 billion modern dollars.

#10 Cornelius Vanderbilt – $185 Billion

Cornelius Vanderbilt is the third richest American ever, the 10th richest person in history and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper’s great-great-great-grandfather. Cornelius Vanderbilt made his first fortune in the steamboat industry but didn’t see his wealth really explode until he invested in railroads at the age of 70. When he died, his estate was worth the equivalent of $185 billion.

#11 Alan Rufus – $178.65 billion

Alan Rufus was the 11th century military companion of William The Conqueror. Going to war with William was a very profitable endeavor. Rufus was given 250,000 acres of land in England, which at the time was worth the equivalent to $178.65 billion.

#12 Bill Gates – $136 Billion

At the peak of the dotcom bubble, Gates’ Microsoft stock soared, giving him a net worth equal to $136 billion in today’s dollars. That’s enough to make him the 12th richest human ever.

#13 William de Warenne – $147.13 Billion

William de Warenne, the first Earl of Surey was an English military leader and nobleman who was awarded large grants of land for his service during the battle of Hastings. That land was worth the equivalent of $146.13 billion in 1088.

#14 John Jacob Astor – $121 Billion

John Jacob Astor has the honorable distinction of being the very first American multi-millionaire in history. He made his first million by trading furs from Canada to wealthy women in New York City. He used his money to acquire vast amounts of real estate and had a net worth equivalent to $121 billion when he died in 1848.

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#15 Richard Fitzalan 10th Earl of Arundel – $118.6 Billion

The 10th Earl of Arundel also known as Richard Fitzalan, was a prominent English nobleman and land owner who had a net worth equivalent to $118.6 billion at the time of his death in 1376.

#16 John of Gaunt – $110 Billion

John of Gaunt was English King Richard II’s Regent and had a net worth equal to $110 billion in today’s dollars thanks to very generous land grants.

#17 Stephen Girard – $105 Billion

French born shipping and banking mogul Stephen Girard died with the equivalent of $105 billion in 1831. Girard didn’t have any heirs so he left the bulk of his estate to charity.

#18 A.T. Stewart – $90 Billion

Alexander Turney Stewart, also known as A.T., came to the US from Ireland and ended up creating the largest department store ever at the time. He had accumulated over $1 million by 1876 which was unheard of. When he died in 1876 he was worth the equivalent of $90 billion.

#19 Henry Duke of Lancaster – $85.1 Billion

Henry Duke of Lancaster was an English nobleman who lived from 1310 to 1361 and acquired a net worth equivalent to $85.1 billion in modern dollars.

#20 Friedrich Weyerhauser – $80 Billion

Friedrich Weyerhauser made his first fortune in the timber business and then went on to acquire enough land to make him the largest private land owner in America. When he died in 1914, his estate was worth the equivalent of $80 billion in 2012 dollars.

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#21 Jay Gould – $71 Billion

Railroad king Jay Gould amassed an impressive $71 billion net worth by the time of his death in 1892.

#22 Carlos Slim Helu – $68 Billion

Mexican business mogul Carlos Slim Helu’s net worth peaked a few years ago at $68 billion. That made him the richest person on the planet for a little while. Unfortunately, even his peak net worth was not not enough to even crack the top 20 of the richest people of all time.

#22 Stephen Van Rensselaer – $68 Billion

Born in 1764, Stephen Van Rensselaer inherited one of the largest land grants in American history from his father. Stephen Van Rensselaer’s family owned much of what would become New York State, including the island of Manhattan. During his lifetime his net worth peaked at $68 billion.

#23 Marshall Field – $66 Billion

Chicago based retail and real estate mogul Marshall Field was worth $66 billion, inflation adjusted, at the time of his death in 1906. Field coined the phrase “The customer is always right.”

#24 Sam Walton – $65 Billion

At the time of his death in 1992, Sam Walton’s net worth was $65 billion which he left to his widow and three children. Today the total value of that stock has grown to over $100 billion!

#25 Warren Buffett – $64 Billion

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is probably not used to being the poorest guy in the room, but on this list that’s exactly who he is. Buffett’s peak net worth before he started giving all his money to charity was $64 billion which is enough to make him the 25th richest human being who ever lived.

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