Nr 10 Henry Ford
While working as an Engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit, Henry Ford built his first gasoline-powered horseless carriage in a small shed at the back of his house.
Known as the Quadricycle, it was built from four bicycle wheels supported by a metal frame and powered by a two-cylinder, four-horsepower gasoline engine.
In 1903, he established the Ford Motor Company, and within 5 years had produced his first automobile, the first Model T.
By making cars that were affordable to the man in the street, his invention revolutionised every day transport. It also made him one of the richest men in the world and at the time of his death in 1947, he had amassed a net worth exceeding $200 billion dollars, most of which he left to the Ford Foundation.
Nr 9 Cornelius Vanderbilt
Coming from an impoverished background, Cornelius Vanderbilt would eventually become the richest man in America by the late 1800’s by making his fortune in the shipping and railroad industry.
After working for his father’s boat business transporting cargo in the New York area, he established his own steamboat company and later set his sights on the railroad industry and personally invested millions in building Grand Central Station, one of the largest train depots in the world.
The self-made businessman also known as The Commodore, battled his rivals as if he were at war, by slashing fares and doing what he could to drive them out of business.
When he died 1877, Vanderbilt’s estate was estimated to be worth approximately $2.3 billion, in today’s money, making him the richest man in America at the time.
Nr 8 Muammar Gadaffi
After leading a revolution, Muammar Gadaffi became the political ruler of his native Libya in 1969. During his 42 years, dictatorship, he had full control over libya’s oil rich deposits and by the time he was overthrown in 2011, he had amassed a vast fortune rumoured to be in excess of $212 billion dollars.
His accumulated wealth was stashed away in bank accounts and real estate around the world and after his demise, $37 billion dollars was located in the United States, and another $30 billion dollars was scattered in assets throughout the UK, Germany France and Italy.
It’s widely believed that much more lies hidden, and the true value of his wealth will probably always remain a mystery.
Nr 7 Tzar Nicholai Romanov
Before being overthrown by the Bolsheviks, Nicholai Aleksandrovich Romanov, was the last Tzar of the Russia his family had ruled for more than 300 years.
During their reign, they had amassed enormous wealth with vast property ownership in Russia and several villas and palaces throughout Europe.
The family’s private jewelry collection was said to be worth over 160 million Roubles including 600 diamonds owned by the Empress and the family had millions invested in banks and the railroad that stretched across Russia.
Nicholia was deposed during the Russian revolution in 1917, and one year later, he and his entire family were executed by the Bolsheviks.
At the time of his death, Nicholai’s net worth was estimated to be over £300 billion dollars.
Nr 6 Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland and at the age of 13, he moved to America and started working for the railroad. He was a wealthy man by the time he was 30 after wisely investing in iron and oil and soon entered the steel industry and established the Carnegie Steel Company.
Using technology and methods that made manufacturing steel easier, faster and more productive, he revolutionised the steel industry and was soon one of the wealthiest businessmen of the 19th century.
At the height of his career, he was worth around $337 billion dollars and in 1901, he sold his company for a staggering $480 million dollars and devoted the rest of his life to
philanthropic endeavors by giving away 90% of his wealth.
Nr 5 John D. Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller was regarded as the wealthiest American and the richest person in the modern day era.
In 1870 Rockefeller and a few associates, incorporated the Standard Oil Company which soon started buying out its competitors and by 1872, it controlled nearly all the refineries in Cleveland. That enabled the company to negotiate favoured rates with the railroads for its shipment of oil .
By 1882, Standard Oil had almost monopolised America’s oil supply with 90% control of all markets.
Rockefeller’s oil empire grew so big that it was deemed a violation of of antitrust laws in the USA and after a supreme court ruling, his company was divided into 34 different companies.
Being a proportionate shareholder in the new companies only added to his Rockefeller’s wealth as their value rose fivefold over the next decade and at the peak of his career, Rockefeller’s net worth was around $367 billion dollars.
Nr 4 Mansa Musa
After conquering most of west africa, Mansa Musa, the 1st Emperor of Mali and King of Timbuktu, was one of the richest men in living history, with an estimated net worth of $400 billion dollars.
Known as the ‘The King Of Mines,’ at the time of his reign in the 14th century, he owned more than half the world’s gold supply and also controlled the key trade routes in the region.
Renowned for being extravagant and accompanied by an entourage of thousands, he once made a famous pilgrimage to Mecca in a Caravan that stretched further than the eye could see.
Generous with his wealth, his legacy lives on today with the numerous schools, Mosques and Universities he built for his people.
Nr 3 Jakob Fugger
Jakob Fugger, was of German descent. He was also one of Renaissance Europe’s wealthiest citizens, founded through lucrative textile agreements and financial contracts with the Holy Roman Empire which gave him land holdings as well as profitable concessions in mining and trade.
Frugger’s wealth increased further with loans to the Hapsburg dynasty, which was renowned for squandering its vast resources. Collateral for the loans came in the form of temporary mortgages on profitable silver mines in the region and from which Fugger prospered even more.
At the peak of his career, he all but monopolised the silver and copper mining trade in the region.
He used his vast wealth to influence both church and politics and was instrumental in arranging several marriages of convenience that helped him gain more financial power.
At the time of his death in 1525, Jakob Fugger had amassed a vast fortune estimated at $ 430 billion dollars.
Nr 2 King Solomon
The biblical Israelite, Solomon was the third king to rule over Israel. During his 40 years rule, he united all the tribes of Israel under a single monarch and wisely secured stability through treaties with surrounding foreign powers in the region.
The bible suggests he consolidated his own position by ruthlessly liquidating his opponents and establishing his friends in the key military, governmental, and religious posts.
He also introduced taxation, for which it said he received 666 talents annually. That in today’s terms equates to approximately 22,000 Kgs of pure gold.
With an estimated net worth of $2.2 trillion dollars at the time of his death in 931 BCE at age 80, he was possibly the most prosperous and productive king ever to rule over Israel
Nr 1 Genghis Khan
Not known for taking prisoners, Genghis Khan’s armies slaughtered their opponents in battle and seized all their belongings, but he also introduced religious freedom to his subjects, abolished torture, encouraged trade and created the first international postal system.
From humble beginnings, the Mongol leader Genghis Khan controlled the largest land empire in history after conquering huge swathes of central Asia and China. His descendants continued his expansionism, finally taking control of 12 million square miles, an area about the size of Africa.
When Genghis Khan died in 1227, during a military campaign against the Chinese kingdom of Xi Xia, his estimated wealth was in the trillions, making him the richest person in history.