The Top 10 Richest People of All Time in History
Having unquantifiable wealth is an ambition many people can only dream of. An extreme few have attained it and many others continue to spend a large part of their time thinking about it.
Who are the richest people of all time in history? How did this select few gather the world’s treasures under their watch? And what motivated and engineered such great wealth?
According to Tony Robbins, an inspiration speaker, business mastery expert, and life coach with a personal net worth of over $500 million Dollars, the easiest way to become as wealthy as the super rich is to study what they did and apply the same principles.
While times change and what the richest people of all time and the richest people in the world do, may not apply to what you do today, the principles surrounding their actions will mostly stand the test of time, and will be applicable for many centuries to come.
But for some on this list, their principles would be unattainable by a lot because, they’re based on standards that defined the ancient past and not the present.
That said, here are the top 10 richest people of all time in history:
10). Gengis Khan:
Source Of Wealth: Lands
Life: 1162 – 1227
Country: The Mongolia Empire
Genghis was one of the greatest military dictators in Chinese history, and was the leader of the Mongol Empire, a massive kingdom that stretched as far as from China to Europe. Despite controlling and ruling the greatest empire of his time, Gengis was greatly generous, and ensured his people always had enough for themselves. He always shared his spoils of war with his soldiers, and his unshaken generosity won him the support and loyalty of his people till his death.
Gengis Khan had no palace, house, or tomb built for himself. He lived freely and stayed humble.
9). Bill Gates:
Source Of Wealth: Technology
Life: 1955 till date
Country: The United States of America
Bill Gates, a technology mogul, was born in America in the year 1955. Born to a well-to-do (but not wealthy) family, Bill grew up as a bright child with a curious mind. At the age of 15, he made his first $20,000 Dollars after building a traffic monitoring tool called “Traf-o-Data”.
After founding and growing Microsoft to the technology giant that it is today, Bill Gates briefly attained a peak wealth of $136 billion Dollars in 1999. While his net worth has since dropped from then, he has donated over $40 billion dollars to charity and still retains the title of the richest man in the world as at today, with a net worth of well over $80 billion Dollars.
8). Alan Rufus (Alan The Red):
Source Of Wealth: Lands
Life: 1040 – 1093
Alan was a relative and companion of William the Conqueror, during the Norman conquest of England. A great source of his wealth came in part from what the King conceded to him for joining the conquest. This land mass amounted to about 250,000 acres of land.
At the time of his death, his net worth was equivalent to 7% of England’s GDP, which adjusted for inflation as at 2014 amounted to $194 billion US Dollars.
7). John D. Rockefeller:
Source Of Wealth: Oil
Life: 1839 – 1937
Country: United States
John D. Rockefeller had two major life goals, growing up. The first was to become a millionaire and the second was to live till the age of 100. He didn’t just become a millionaire, but amassed a great fortune, adjusted for inflation to be worth about $341 billion US dollars as at 2014. These wealth was largely from his oil company, Standard Oil, which controlled 90% of America’s oil at that time. The company today was split into Exxon-Mobile and Chevron.
As at 1981, his net worth accounted for 2% of America’s economic output.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t meet up to his second life goal, as he died at the age of 98, which was two years short of his 100 years target.
6). Andrew Carnegie:
Source Of Wealth: Steel
Life: 1835 – 1919
Andrew Carnegie wasn’t just one of the richest people in history, but was also probably the richest American in history. Originally from Scotland, he emigrated into the United States, where he founded a steel company, U.S Steel, which he later sold to J.P Morgan in 1901. The deal accounted for about 2.1% of America’s GDP at the time, and adjusted for inflation as at 2014, was estimated to be worth about $372 billion US dollars.
5). Joseph Stalin:
Source Of Wealth: The Soviet Union
Life: 1878 – 1953
Joseph Stalin was a dictator with absolute power and control of the nation’s wealth, which made up 9.5% of the world’s economic output. This figure was about $7.5 trillion US dollars available at the disposal of Joseph Stalin.
While Stalin did not directly own the wealth, many researches worldwide have mentioned him as one of the richest figures in history, despite the difficulty in separating his wealth from that of his nation’s.
Stalin could leverage the country’s economic wealth at any time and at will, giving him absolute power and a final say, should he deem it necessary to do whatever he wished with whatever sum was in the country’s coffers, with no questions asked.
By controlling such wealth without any opposition or checks and balances, he has been nominated endlessly as one of the richest men in history.
4). Akbar I:
Source Of Wealth: Ruled The Mughal Dynasty
Life: 1542 – 1605
Akbar ruled the Mughal Dynasty, an empire that accounted for about 25% of the global economic output at the time of his rule.
Research data from an economist, Branko Milanovic, showed that the elite class of the Mughal Dynasty were far wealthier than other elites from the Wester part of the world.
3). Emperor Shenzong:
Source Of Wealth: The Song Dynasty
Life: 1048 – 1085
The Song Dynasty, ruled by Emperor Shenzong, was one of the most vibrant economies of its time. According to economists, the dynasty accounted for 25% to 35% of the global GDP.
The emperor had absolute power over everything in the dynasty, and as such, could do as he pleases with whatever he wanted, making him one of the richest people of all time in history.
2). Augustus Caesar:
Source Of Wealth: Absolute Control Of An Empire
Life: 63 BC – 14 AD
Augustus Caesar, one of the richest people of all time in history, had an economy that was one of the largest in his times, with it accounting for about 25% to 30% of the world’s economic output. His personal net worth was rumoured to have been 1/5th of the nation’s coffers, which would amount to $4.6 trillion U.S Dollars as at 2014.
It is also said that at some point (for a short while), he personally owned all of Egypt.
1). Mansa Musa:
Source Of Wealth: An Empire Full of Gold
Life: 1280 – 1337
Mansa Musa was the king of Timbuktu, an ancient kingdom in Mali, which was stipulated by researchers as the largest producer of Gold at its time in history. At a time when gold was in high demand, Mansa Musa was so rich that his wealth was completely unquantifiable, making him one of the richest people of all time in history.
The king’s richest are often referred to as “impossible”, and putting a figure to his net worth is largely seen as an insult to his vast wealth. Although some scholars prefer to say he was personally worth about $400 billion dollars.
It is stated in history that Mansa Musa’s spending was so lavish that he once caused a currency crisis in Egypt, during one of his pilgrimage trips to Mecca. His camels were always carrying hundreds of pounds of gold, and his army were usually so vast (about 200,000 men and 40,000 archers) that it was virtually impossible for anyone to confront him on the battlefield, especially to steal his spoils of gold.
Despite being one of the richest people of all time in history, people still find it difficult till this day to describe what his wealth was truly like. In some of his pictures, he can be seen sitting on a pure gold throne, wearing a pure gold crown, holding a pure gold scepter, and also holding a pure gold cup.
One of the best ways to quantify his wealth is to imagine as much gold as any human can ever possess, then double the number.
That was how darn rich Mansa Musa was!
What are your thoughts on these richest people of all time in history? Let me know by leaving a comment below.