List of wealthiest historical figures
The list of the wealthiest historical figures is an attempt to gather and compare the net-worth and fortunes of historical figures against one another. Inflation and other factors devalue currency over time; economies of different regions over time periods; and economies' produced goods, commodities, and services over time. These fluctuations increase difficulty when accurately assessing and comparing fortunes from different decades, centuries, and especially millennia for the economy of any given State or region. Also, because several individuals and families never had their financial records revealed publicly and there are no contemporary estimates of their net-worth, several individuals could be omitted due to a lack of citable estimates of their net-worth. Some estimates of individuals' wealth are based upon ownership of capital and stock in a company or many companies, the value of which is always changing.
This list includes both nominal and real wealth. The nominal value of a person's net-worth reflects the price in that person's time without adjustments for inflation or other factors. The real value of a person's net-worth reflects an attempt to adjust a fortune's worth against economic factors that usually devalue a currency and thus reflect the buying power of that wealth as a stable figure comparable across historical periods.
Historical figures and their wealth 
Historical figures often attested to be of great riches, presented in alphabetical order.
Alan Rufus 
A companion of William the Conqueror during the Norman invasion of Britain, Alan Rufus, who is also known as Alain le Roux or Alan the Red, received some 250,000 acres (1,000 km2) in land grants as a reward for his allegiance. His property stretched throughout Yorkshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and London, totaling some £11,000 by the time of his death in 1093. This would make Alan Rufus the wealthiest Briton in all the history of the British Isles. His fortune was estimated to be equivalent to £81.33 billion in 2007.
Mir Osman Ali Khan 
Of the seven Nizams who governed Hyderabad State, India from 1720 to 1948, the richest was the last, Mir Osman Ali Khan, who was regarded as the wealthiest man on Earth – his portrait graced the cover of Time magazine in 1937. He had his own mint, printing his own currency, the Hyderabadi rupee, and a vast private treasury. Its coffers were said to contain £100m in gold and silver bullion, and a further £400m of jewels. Among them was the Jacob Diamond, valued at some £100m (in 2008), and used by the Nizam as a paperweight. There were also other treasures; gems, pearls – enough to pave Piccadilly Circus–, hundreds of race horses, thousands of uniforms, tonnes of royal regalia and Rolls-Royces by the dozen.
De' Medici 
The de' Medici family of Florence is one of the most illustrious noble families in European history, and were the hereditary holders of the titles of Grand Duke of Tuscany, Duke of Florence and Duke of Urbino, and married into still more. Other family members held singularly prominent positions, namely Pope Clement VII, Pope Leo X, Ippolito Cardinale de' Medici, Catherine de' Medici, Queen of France, wife of Henri II - who had an equally famous mistress in Diane de Poitiers (who was distantly related to Catherine) - and Marie de' Medici, Queen of France and of Navarre.
Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici founded the family's bank and supported the return of the papacy to Rome, which occurred in 1410. He was rewarded for his efforts with the position of personal banker to the papacy, several tax contracts and alum mines, all of which firmly established both the family's fortune and political influence. His son Cosimo would expand the bank, allowing the family fortune to grow to 122,669 Florin ($22,411,600 2012 USD) by 1457. Cosimo's influence had become so great that he acted as de facto ruler of Florence despite holding no elected office. However by 1481, city tax records show that the family fortune had plummeted to 57,930 Florin under the direction of Lorenzo, who made for a better politician and diplomat than banker.
Heshen or Hešen (Chinese: 和珅; pinyin: Héshēn; Wade–Giles: Ho-shen, 1746 - February 22, 1799) was a Manchu official of the Qing Dynasty, a favourite of the Qianlong Emperor, and one of the wealthiest people in modern Chinese history. Upon his death in 1799, his total property was estimated at around 1.100 billion taels of silver, roughly US$42 billion based on 2011 silver prices. Heshen's wealth, which was the equivalent to the imperial revenue of the Qing government for 15 years, included the following:
3,000 rooms in his estates and mansions, 8,000 acres (32 km²) of land, 42 bank branches, 75 pawnbroker branches, 60,000 taels of copper alloyed gold, 100 large ingots of pure gold, (1,000 taels each), 56,600 medium silver ingots, (100 taels each), 9,000,000 small silver ingots, (10 taels each), 58,000 livres/pounds of foreign currency, 1,500,000 copper coins, 600 lb of top-quality Jilin ginseng, 1,200 jade charms, 230 pearl bracelets (each pearl comparable in size to large cherries or longans), 10 large pearls (each the size of apricots), 10 large ruby crystals, 40 large sapphire crystals, 40 tablefuls of solid-silver eating utensils, (serves 10 per table), 40 tablefuls of solid-gold eating utensils, (serves 10 per table), 11 coral rocks (each over a metre in height), 14,300 bolts of fine silk, 20,000 sheets of fine sheep-fur wool, 550 fox hides, 850 raccoon dog hides, 56,000 sheep and cattle hides of varying thickness, 7,000 sets of fine clothing (for all four seasons), 361,000 bronze and tin vases and vessels, 100,000 porcelain vessels made by famous masters, 24 highly decorative solid-gold beds (each with eight different types of inlaid gemstones), 460 top-quality European clocks, 606 servants, 600 women in his harem.
Jacob Fugger 
Jacob Fugger (German: Jakob Fugger) (6 March 1459 – 30 December 1525) (Augsburg), sometimes known as Jacob Fugger the Rich, was a German banker, merchant and a member of the Fugger banking family of Germany. He achieved a monopoly position in the silk and copper trade in Europe and was main financier and creditor of the Emperor Charles V. His nephew was the wealthy banker, Anton Fugger to whom he bequeathed his wealth upon his death. This heritage amounted to roughly 2.1 million guilders which are ~7,000 kilograms (~15,432 lbs, or $438M USD) of gold and his remaining property.
Don Simón Iturri Patiño 
Don Simón Iturri Patiño born in 1862 (died 1947), was a Bolivian industrialist. He took over tin mines in Bolivia and smelters in England and Germany, and by the 1940s he controlled the international tin market. During World War II, Patiño was believed to be one of the five wealthiest men in the world.
Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov 
Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, born in 1868 as Nikolai Alexandrovich into the House of Romanov, was the emperor of the Russian Empire from 1894 until the February Revolution of 1917. Around age 48 (in 1916) his wealth was valued at up to US$881 million, which equals US$290 billion in today's money. He is seen as the wealthiest monarch and head of state in history and further as the wealthiest saint as the Russian Orthodox Church declared him, his wife and his children martyrs after being murdered in 1918 by the Bolsheviks.
North American figures and their wealth 
American entrepreneurs have often amassed the largest nominal fortunes in history. However, due to the effect of inflation, many of these fortunes have actually accumulated smaller real value than some historical figures.
Cornelius Vanderbilt 
Cornelius Vanderbilt gained his fortune from shipping and railroad. His net worth of US$105 million in 1877 was equal to 1.15% of the U.S. annual GDP in his day. With a real value estimated somewhere between US$143 billion and US$178.4 billion adjusted for the late 2000s (decade), Vanderbilt is one of the wealthiest Americans in the history of the country.
Sam Walton 
John D. Rockefeller 
On September 29, 1916, John D. Rockefeller became the first man to ever reach a nominal personal fortune of US$1 billion. Rockefeller amassed his fortune from the Standard Oil company, of which he was a founder, chairman and major shareholder in the company. By the time of his death in 1937, estimates place his net worth in the range of US$392 billion to US$663.4 billion in adjusted dollars for the late 2000s (decade), and it is estimated that his personal fortune was equal to 1.53% of the total U.S. annual GDP in his day. When considering the real value of his wealth, Rockefeller is widely held to be the wealthiest person in history.
Andrew Carnegie 
Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, before emigrating to the US. Founder of the Carnegie Steel Company, which was the most extensive integrated iron and steel operations in the United States, Carnegie merged his company into U.S. Steel and sold his share for US$492 million in 1901. Capitalized at US$1.4 billion at the time, U.S. Steel was the first billion dollar company in the world. In his final years, Carnegie's net worth was US$475 million, but by the time of his death in 1919 he had donated most of his wealth to charities and other philanthropic endeavors and had only US$30 million left to his personal fortune. Carnegie's hundreds of millions accounted for about 0.60% of the U.S. annual GDP and has a real value estimated at anywhere from US$75 billion to US$297.8 billion adjusted for the late 2000s (decade).
J.P. Morgan 
J.P. Morgan inherited wealth from his father, a leading businessman of his time. J.P. Morgan made his initial fortune in the industrialist era of Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, and Carnegie by the business of consolidation of interests. Eventually J.P. wanted to make a name for himself and took a large gamble on a revolutionary technology: electricity. Teaming with Thomas Edison, Morgan backed projects leading to the electrification of New York City using direct current (DC). Understudy of Edison, Nikola Tesla however contributed to the alternating current (AC) technology that proved more effective at transmission over long distances. This was brought to market by the Westinghouse Company. Morgan however shrewdly intimidated Westinghouse into surrendering rights to AC enabling J.P. Morgan's General Electric to rapidly grow. Morgan then continued to branch out into other interests eyeing steel and the Carnegie empire. Morgan's porfolio included railroads, steel, and mines but the best integrated company was Carnegie Steel. Morgan engineered a buyout and formed US Steel as a result.
Henry Ford 
Henry Ford was an American automotive engineer, entrepreneur, and founder of the Ford Motor Company. Through his designing of the Model T Ford and employing the assembly line means of rapid production, he was able to lower the base price of his product in order to reach a wider market. His highest earnings are recorded at age 57 and he died at the age of 83 in 1947 at a net worth of US$188.1 billion (Inflation adjusted value in 2008 dollars)
John Jacob Astor 
After immigrating to the United States, John Jacob Astor began trading in furs and later in real estate and opium. By 1800 his nominal wealth was some US$250,000, and by the time of his death in 1848 his fortune had grown to US$20 million. Equal to 0.93% of the national GDP, Astor has a real wealth estimated at some US$116 billion when adjusted for the late 2000s (decade).
Bill Gates 
Bill Gates has singularly amassed the largest nominal fortune in all of history through his computer technology corporation Microsoft, peaking at US$101 billion in 1999. By 2007, his net worth had dropped to US$82 billion, and by 2011 his worth was valued at US$56 billion. Extensive donation to charity is primarily the cause of his decrease in wealth. In terms of real value, Gates is likely one of the ten wealthiest Americans in history. He has been placed in the top 10 wealthiest people of all time.
Antique historical figures and Legendary wealth 
As records are lost and fortunes often never fully tallied, sometimes only vague stories and grandiose legends are left as witnesses to the treasures held by individuals past. These tales are often believed to be fanciful or exaggerated, and some have even been discredited with new discoveries and evidence. Nevertheless, these fortunes were likely impressive, having remained in popular consciousness through the ages, even if only as legend.
Croesus was a king of Lydia in the 6th century BC. His name in Greek and Persian cultures became a synonym for a wealthy man. In English, expressions such as "rich as Croesus" are used to indicate great wealth. Croesus himself is often credited with the invention of the first formalized currency systems and coinage.
The wealth that was for a long time attributed to Mausolus was more romantic legend than fact. The misconception of his wealth centred around the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, a great tomb constructed by the king for himself and his wife that was considered a "Wonder of the World" by Greek historians and writers. It survived into the 15th century until it was finally destroyed by earthquakes. Afterward, the carved stones and sculptures strewn across the landscape caused writers of the Renaissance to tell tales of the wealth of a king who could afford such beautiful artistry in such great numbers. Much of the remains of the tomb were either plundered for their sculpture or used as an artificial quarry from which castles and fortifications were built over the succeeding centuries.
Yet, discoveries during excavations of the region show that the tomb's construction either directly bankrupted the treasury, or indirectly led to the downfall of the kingdom, as high taxation and strain on resources led to political instability, which eventually emboldened neighboring states to invade the weakened kingdom. Many of the artisans and craftsman that were initially hired to construct the tomb continued to work without pay after the kingdom had been bankrupted, working solely for the glory and renown of their efforts.
The Bible states that King Solomon held a fortune that dwarfed any and every person who lived before him, making him the wealthiest man in the world. Each year, Solomon received 25 tons of gold. This did not include income derived from business, trade, nor the annual tribute paid to him by all of the kings and governors of Arabia. King Solomon's throne was coated in pure gold and inlaid with ivory. It had 6 stairs, 12 lion statues (1 on either side of each step) and a solid gold foot stool. Two larger lion statues stood on either side of the throne.
All of the goblets and household articles in Solomon's palace were pure gold. King Solomon was reportedly so rich, that during the years of his reign over Jerusalem, his immense wealth caused silver to be considered of little value and as common as rocks. As such, nothing in Solomon's palace was made of silver. The same devaluation was noted of cedar wood; a lumber which, at the time, was considered to be of great value and significance, both monetarily and non, for many societies throughout the region and beyond. Some historians say that Tawil family from Azech in tur abddin known now to be Idil in turkey sirank province used to be the private goldsmiths of Solomon . 
Musa I 
Musa I, Mansa of Mali, more commonly referred to simply as Mansa Musa, ascended to the throne of the wealthy Mali Empire in 1312. The emperors were fairly obscure figures outside of Western Africa, but Musa's religious Hajj in 1324 would bring great attention to the wealth and extravagance of his lands. The retinue that Musa traveled with included 60,000 men, in addition to 12,000 servants, 500 of which marched before the mansa dressed in silken robes and carrying golden staves. There were 80 camels in the train that are said to have carried anywhere from 50 to 300 pounds each of gold dust. Musa spent so much gold, particularly in Egypt, that the price of the rare metal was devalued and caused the economy of that nation to be devastated for years. Mansa Musa was reportedly quite pious and very generous to the common people upon his Hajj, such that the citizens of Cairo, Mecca and Baghdad told tales of his visit for generations.
Marcus Licinius Crassus 
One of the leading politicians of Rome in his day, Marcus Licinius Crassus, along with Gaius Julius Caesar and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, comprised the First Triumvirate. Crassus, born into a wealthy political family, inherited a fortune of 7 million sesterces after the death of his father in 87 BC. Political rivalries eventually led to the state seizing Crassus's wealth. After several years of exile, Lucius Cornelius Sulla regained a position of power in Rome, and Crassus as a loyal and valued supporter found himself in charge of Sulla's proscriptions. In such a position, Crassus was able to rebuild his family fortune by seizing the property of executed criminals for himself, and there is evidence that shows Crassus sometimes executed innocent individuals simply to obtain their vast estates and wealth.
Crassus also expanded his wealth by trading in slaves and by purchasing whole neighborhoods of Rome as they burned, for drastically less than market value. At the time, Rome had no formal way of battling fires and they usually were left to burn themselves out, which meant several estates and fortunes were lost in the process. Crassus employed a firefighting brigade of some five hundred men and, after he negotiated the purchase of the burning building and the surrounding estates in danger, the brigade would collapse the home that was ablaze to extinguish the fire before it could spread.
Crassus was known in Rome as Dives, meaning "The Rich." Plutarch describes how Crassus's relationship with a Vestal Virgin came into question at one point, for which the punishment was death. Crassus was acquitted after claiming that he merely courted the woman in an attempt to acquire her villa at below market cost and that carnal lusts never came to mind. Wishing to gain both political and military fame during the slave uprisings led by Spartacus, Crassus offered to equip, train, and lead two new legions of soldiers into battle at his own expense in an impressive show of personal wealth. In 53 BC, while again attempting military fame, Crassus was killed during a parley with a Parthian general; Lucius Cassius Dio tells that he thereupon had molten gold poured into his mouth to satiate his unyielding thirst for wealth.
It is believed that Crassus expanded his personal fortune to a remarkable 170 million sesterces, while Pliny the Elder surmised his fortune to be valued even higher, at 200 million sesterces. This would place Crassus's net worth equal to the total annual budget of the Roman treasury. He has been considered the wealthiest man in history, though this claim has been disputed. Most modern experts believe his wealth to be far less than historians centuries before had presumed thanks to the increasing knowledge of Ancient Roman monetary values.
Aaron of Lincoln 
Aaron was a man who lived in the 12th century and was the wealthiest person of his time. It is said his wealth exceeded that of King Henry.
- Chittenden, Maurice. ".[who?]
- Time http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,1101370222,00.html
|url=missing title (help).
- Bedi, Rahul (12 April 2008). "India finally settles £1million Nizam dispute". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Shah, Tahir. "Alan the Red, the Brit who makes Bill Gates a pauper." Times Online. The Sunday Times. 7 October 2007. Web. 19 May 2010.
- The Rise and Decline of the Medici Bank: 1397–1494, by Raymond A. de Roover. Google Books. 1999-08. ISBN 978-1-893122-32-1. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
- Current Biography, 1941, pp. 645–47
- The House of Rothschild: Money's prophets, 1798–1848, Volume 1, Niall Ferguson, 1999, page 481–85
- Frederic Morton, The Rothschild: Portrait of a Dynasty, 1962. ISBN 1-56836-220-X, page 57
- "The Rothschild story". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2004-04-16.
- 2006 ranking of the 100 wealthiest Americans to date
- "The Wealthiest Americans Ever". The New York Times. 15 July 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
- "Richest Americans in History". Forbes. 24 August 1998. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- "Top 10: Richest Men Of All Time". AskMen.com. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
- "The richest Americans". Forbes. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- "Top 10 Richest Men Of All Time". AskMen.com. Retrieved 5-29-2007.
- "The Rockefellers". PBS. Retrieved 5-29-2007.
- "The Richest Americans". Fortune magazine. Retrieved 07-17-2007.
- "The Wealthiest Americans Ever". The New York Times. July 15, 2007. Retrieved 07-17-2007.
- Peter L. Bernstein. The 20 Richest People Of All Time
- 1 Kings 10:14; 2 Chronicles 9:13
- 1 Kings 10:15; 2 Chronicles 9:14
- 1 Kings 10:21; 2 Chronicles 9:20
- 1 Kings 10:21; 1 Kings 10:27; 2 Chronicles 9:20; 2 Chronicles 9:27
- "50 Greatest Africans - Askia Mohammed I & Mansa Musa". When We Ruled. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
- "Mansa Musa". HyperHistory.net. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
- Wallechinsky, David & Irving Wallace. "Richest People in History Ancient Roman Crassus". Trivia-Library. The People's Almanac. 1975 - 1981. Web. 23 December 2009.
- "Roman Money - Current Value". GlobalSecurity. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- Fifty of the Wealthiest People of the Past 1,000 Years
- The 25 Richest People Who Ever Lived – Inflation Adjusted