According to Forbes, Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world. The Amazon founder has a $131 billion fortune, which also makes him one of the richest men in modern history. It is hard to imagine someone with more money than Bezos. However, he is far from being the wealthiest man who has ever existed.
Much before the internet and e-commerce, the wealthiest man on earth built their empires by expanding their kingdoms, using powerful armies, and trading gold. After the Industrial Revolution, the first self-made millionaires made their fortune through entrepeneurial endeavors. Yet, they all had something in common; their wealth always had a relation with power.
Here is a list of historical figures who had more money than Jeff Bezos and how much they would be worth today.
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10 Henry Ford – $200 Billion
When Henry Ford died in 1947, he had built an empire estimated to have been worth $200 billion in today’s dollars. He is the founder of Ford Motor Company and was responsible for producing affordable cars. His revolutionary business model was a success, and he became a self-made billionaire.
He is known for his leadership skills, and many leaders are still following his rules. He is also remembered for his extremist position in politics and had a friendly relationship with Adolf Hitler. Ford also had political aspirations that never came true.
9 Muammar Gaddafi – $200 Billion
Muammar Gaddafi is the only name on recent history that could be richer than Jeff Bezos. The Libyan dictator made his $200 billion fortune stealing from the country’s oil revenue. He was also known for his cruelty against enemies.
According to Human Rights Watch, the rebels killed Gaddafi in 2011. Part of his accounts are still frozen, but authorities believe that a significant amount of his fortune is still hidden in multiple African countries. Part of his family ran away after his death, but his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi still acts as a politician and dreams about become Lybia’s president.
8 Cornelius Vanderbilt – $215 Billion
When Cornelius Vanderbilt died in 1877, he was the wealthiest man in the United States. Vanderbilt made his $215 billion fortune thanks to railroads and shipping.
In 1817, he and a partner started ferrying people between New York and New Jersey, and the business soon became an empire. However, Vanderbilt was not welcomed by the high-society, who considered him too rude. He was also known for cheating on his wife and being a distant father, especially for his daughters. According to his biography, Vanderbilt would give more respect and attention to his male descendants.
7 Osman Ali Khan – $230 Billion
In 1937, Time announced Osman Ali Khan as the richest man in the world. His fortune would be worth today $230 billion. From 1911 and 1948, he was the ruler of Princely State of Hyderabad and Berar, a territory that now belongs to India. He was still the richest man in Asia when he died in 1967.
He had $400 million in jewelry alone and used a $95 million diamond as a paperweight. He gave a stunning diamond necklace to Queen Elizabeth II, and, a few years ago, Kate Middleton wore it during an event.
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6 Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov – $300 Billion
You’ve probably heard about the Romanov family, the most prominent—and last—of the Russian dynasty. Nikolai Alexandrovich was the most important name of this wealthy family. The final Tsar of Russia ruled the country from 1894 until 1917, his reign coming to end with the Bolshevik revolution, which officially took control of the country in 1918. He and his family were executed, and he was worth an estimated $300 billion in today’s money at the time.
The Romanov family had remained in power since the 17th Century and ruled the country for eight generations. However, the revolution started after Nikolai made many unpopular decisions like weakening political institutions and controlling the press.
5 Andrew Carnegie -$310 Billion
Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Steel and he had a $310 billion fortune. He was a self-made billionaire, and his parents left everything behind in Scotland to try for a better life in America. When Carnegie was a teenager, he worked on a cotton mill and earned $1.20 per week.
After that, he worked as a messager at a telegraph company where he learned how to use the equipment. In the process, he also learned a lot about the railroad industry and how to make investments. Carnegie made several successful investments, and, after the Second World War, he created his company.
Despite all his fortune, Carnegie lived a modest life and donated part of his wealth to charity.
4 Akbar I – Impossible to Calculate
Akbar was born in the 16th Century and was known as the “the greatest of the Mughal emperor of India.” During his reign, his empire represented 25% of the global economy.
He invested a lot in his army, aiming to extend his empire. Although he was Muslim, he enjoyed discussing different religions and conversed with many spiritual leaders. He also loved art and made his court an important cultural center. After his death, the new leaders were not able to maintain his legacy, and the country faced a political crisis.
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3 Augustus Caesar – Impossible to calculate
If Augustus Caesar lived today, his empire would easily outpass Jeff Bezos. When he ruled the Roman empire, the kingdom was responsible for 30 percent of the world’s economy.Augustus had an enormous personal fortune, but it is impossible to measure the wealth of the greatest Roman leader. Some specialists claim he would have trillions.
He was also very popular among his people. Augustus Caesar was responsible for bringing peace to the empire and also made constitutional reforms that brought financial stability to the empire. He is also known for being one of the greatest leaders in history.
2 Genghis Khan – Impossible to Calculate
Genghis Khan was the leader of the Mongol Empire during the early thirteenth century. When Genghis Khan was 20 years old, he built an army with the intent of destroying tribes in Asia. He is known for his brutality and also for his military tactics.
He died in 1227 under unclear circumstances, but some people claim he fell from a horse while hunting. When he died, the Mongol empire was the biggest the world has ever seen. Genghis Khan is one of the richest people who ever existed, and it is impossible to calculate his fortune.
1 Mansa Musa – Impossible to Calculate
According to many history specialists, Mansa Musa was the wealthiest man who has ever existed. He was the ruler of West Africa during the fourteenth century, and it is impossible to calculate his fortune, although some people say it is around $400 billion. His kingdom was the highest producer of gold in the world at the time.
“Contemporary accounts of Musa’s wealth are so breathless that it’s almost impossible to get a sense of just how wealthy and powerful he truly was,” Rudolph Butch Ware, associate professor of history at the University of California, said during an interview with BBC.
After he died in 1337, his sons were not able to rule the kingdom as their father did, and it was the beginning of its decline.
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