Photo KnowInsiders
Who Are The Richest People In The World History? Photo KnowInsiders

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are among the richest people in the world currently, but in terms of the wealthiest people of all time, they don't make the cut. In history, there are wealthier people than the modern billionaires, particularly when you consider those whose wealth and spending could impact the overall health of the economy during the times in which they lived. T

hink further back and some more famous names such as American business magnates John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Henry Ford and the Russian Imperial Romanov family also had toppling fortunes.

Who Are The Richest People In The World History?

1. Mansa Musa (1280-1337) - Wealth incalculable

Photo AP
Photo AP

Country: Mali

Wealth: Richer than anyone could describe

In Mandinka, “Mansa” means sultan or emperor. It was recorded that Musa Keita was born around 1280 AD during the Keita Dynasty, per BBC.

He was born into a family of rulers and came into power in 1312 AD when his brother Mansa Abu-Bakr abdicated the throne to go on an extravagant expedition at sea. According to historian Shibab al-Umari, Abu-Bakr had always been fascinated with the Atlantic Ocean, and reportedly left with a fleet of about 2,000 ships with thousands of men, women and slaves – but he never returned.

Mansa Musa became the ninth sultan of the West African kingdom, which was already considered very wealthy by the time he ascended.

How rich was he, really?

Some estimates put Mansa’s modern day net worth at US$400 billion to US$500 billion, though it can be difficult to fairly calculate a fortune based on gold, salt and land. Many historians, however, agree that his wealth was “richer than anyone could describe”.

Nevertheless, Mansa Musa will be remembered not just for his mountains of gold, but also for his generosity and commitment to his Islamic faith, promotion of education and financing his empire’s greatest cultural developments.

Read More: Who is Mansa Musa - Richest Person in the World of All Time

2. Augustus Caesar (63 BC-AD 14) - $6 trillion

Photo Landmark Events
Photo Landmark Events

Country: Rome

Not only was Augustus Caesar in charge of an empire that accounted for 25% to 30% of the world’s economic output, but according to Stanford history professor Ian Morris, Augustus at one point held personal wealth equivalent to one-fifth of his empire’s economy. That fortune would be the equivalent of about $4.6 trillion in 2014. “For a while,” Morris adds, Augustus “personally owned all of Egypt.” That’s hard to top.

3. Akbar I (1542-1605) - Wealth incalculable

Photo Hindustans Times
Photo Hindustans Times

Country: India

Wealth: Ruled empire with 25% of global GDP

The greatest emperor of India’s Mughal dynasty, Akbar controlled an empire that accounted for about one-fourth of global economic output. Fortune’s Chris Matthews cites the late economic historian Angus Maddison, who speculates India’s GDP per capita under Akbar was comparable to Elizabethan England, but with “a ruling class whose extravagant lifestyle surpassed that of the European society.”

4. Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) - $372 billion

Photo India Times
Photo India Times

Country: United States

The Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie built his fortune in the 19th century who died in 1919.

Andrew Carnegie left the oil industry to Rockefeller and focused on the steel industry with the Carnegie Steel Company. His fortune is estimated at $372 billion at the time. With his wealth, he built over 1,600 public libraries in the United States. In his eyes, it was important to invest in knowledge and he also injected tens of millions of dollars into American education.

Before he died, Andrew spent the last few years of his life as a philanthropist and donated 90% of his fortune to charities, universities and other organizations.

5. John D Rockefeller (1839-1937) - $341 billion

Photo India Times
Photo India Times

Country: United States

During the 20th century, this famous billionaire and oil tycoon, John Davison Rockefeller controlled 90% of the flow of "black gold" (Oil). He died in 1937 at the age of 97. The creation of the Standard Oil Company, the largest oil company in the United States. During that time he owned 90% of all the oil. The company was divided into 34 small businesses. Among these still exist ExxonMobil, Chevron and BP.

John D. Rockefeller was also the first man to raise $1 billion. Converted, his fortune would come to about $341 billion dollars.

After the first world war, he has spent a lot of money for good causes and invested $250 million in his own organization, the Rockefeller Foundation.

6. Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov (1868-1918) - $300 billion

Photo India Times
Photo India Times

Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov is also known as Nicholas II the last Emperor of Russia and King of Poland and Grand Duke of Finland. He ruled the Russian empire from 1894-1917 when Bolshevik revolutionaries overthrew and murdered him and his family. In 1916, Tsar Nicolas II's net worth was nearly $900 million, which when adjusted with inflation, was equivalent to $300 billion in 2012. At $300 billion, it makes him the sixth richest human in history and since the Russian Orthodox Church canonized him, he is the richest saint in human history.

7. Mir Osman Ali Khan (1886-1967) - $230 billion

Photo India Times
Photo India Times

It's not the Adani or Ambanis, it's Osman Ali Khan who was known as the richest Indian ever, the last Nizam (or ruler) of Hyderabad. Before the princely state was taken into the union of India in 1948, Mir Osman Ali Khan was the wealthiest man in India.

Osman Ali Khan succeeded his father as the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1911 and stayed at the helm for nearly four decades.

Mir Osman Ali Khan reportedly owned 50 Rolls Royces.

Mir Osman Ali Khan was one of the seven Nizam who ruled Hyderabad until the country was invaded by neighbouring India.

He had a personal gold collection that was worth over $100 million and owned over $400 million worth of jewellery, including the famous Jacob Diamond which is worth $95 million today.

8. William The Conqueror (1027-1087) - $5 billion

Photo Discover Middle Ages
Photo Discover Middle Ages

William the Conqueror was a King of England, and had an inflation-adjusted estimated net worth of $229.5 billion.

When Edward the Confessor died, he was succeeded by Harold Goodwin instead of William. Angry, he invaded England to enforce his claim.

As he gathered his fleet onto the French coast, their plans to invade was delayed for several weeks. On October 14, 1066, the two armies met in the Battle of Hastings. During the battle, King Harold was killed, along with his two brothers. William was crowned King of England.

During his reign as King, he was known to grab up land, distributing the property to his Norman followers.

William the Conqueror was born in 1028 in Falaise, Normandy, France. He was also known as William the Bastard. On September 9, 1087, he died in Rouen, France.

9. Muammar Gaddafi (1942-2011) - 200 billion

Photo Forbes
Photo Forbes

Muammar Gaddafi was a Libyan politician. Gaddafi governed Libya as Revolutionary Chairman of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then as the “Brotherly Leader” of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.

Gaddafi was committed to Arab nationalism and Arab socialism but later ruled according to his own “Third International Theory.”

At the time of his death, Muammar Gaddafi’s net worth is estimated to be roughly $200 Billion.

10. Henry Ford (1863-1947) – $199 billion

Photo History
Photo History

American businessman and founder of the famous Ford Motor Company, Henry dictated a vision that changed the history of industrialization.

He launched Ford T, one of the first cars with a gasoline engine, which would later sell 16 million copies. He attributed the “Fordism” concept to the world, which consists of producing large quantities at a low cost through an assembly line. In life, he became one of the richest men in the world, and today, we only see his legacy because he left his fortune to the care of the Ford Foundation.

11. Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) – $185 billion

Photo India Times
Photo India Times

Cornelius was a great American entrepreneur and a major philanthropist who made his fortune through the merchant marine with cargo and passenger transport on the stretches between Manhattan, Albany and New York. It was also one of the pioneers to invest in railroads during United States industrialization. It is estimated that he managed to accumulate $185 billion until his death in 1877 at the age of 82.

Much of his will went to his 12 children and wife. One of the only works that remained from this legacy was the University of Vanderbilt, to which he left 1 million for its construction in memoriam. His net worth was equivalent to 1.15% of the annual GDP of the United States in 1877.

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