35 Richest People in the World of All Time

Not everyone is entitled to attain the virtue of being among the richest person on earth. It takes years and years of hard work to reach at that specific point and for someone even generations. John D. Rockefeller once quoted “I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity”, for a business minded person, that is exactly what it takes to become wealthy. Anyway, our main motto behind this article is to provide the list of those people who actually did it and put their names in the history books for eternity. Here is our list of 35 all-time richest people in the world.

35. Michael Bloomberg (1942-present)

Michael Bloombergwikimedia

Estimated worth: US $40.9 billion
Source of Income: Bloomberg L.P

Michael Bloomberg is an American businessman who owns the global financial data provider and media company Bloomberg LP. He started his career at the Soloman Brothers working there as the securities brokerage. Then he  went on to set up a company named Innovative Market Systems. The company was later renamed to Bloomberg L.P in 1987. He also served as 108th Mayor of New York city from 2002- 2013.

34. J.P Morgan (1837-1913)

JP Morganwikimedia

Estimated worth: US $41.5 billion
Source of income: United States Steel Corporation and J.P Morgan  Company

John Pierpont Morgan was a big time American financier and banker who dominated the corporate finance. During his early years he started banking in 1857 at the London branch. He was instrumental in the creation of the United States Steel Corporation.

Then he switched to the Duncan, Sherman & Company in New York City. In 1895, the company was rechristened to J.P Morgan & Company. He then bought the Carnegie Steel Company and merged several other steel companies to form the United States Steel Corporation. In 1901, it was the first billion dollar company in the world.

33. Charles Koch (1935-present)

Charles Kochwikimedia

Estimated net worth: US $44.5 billion
Source of income: Koch Industries

Charles de Ganahl Koch is an American businessman and a philanthropist. He and his brother David inherited the business from their father, then expanded the business. In terms of revenue in 2012, Koch Industries was placed second largest privately owned company in the United States according to Forbes survey.

32. Larry Ellison (1944- present)

Larry EllisonFlickr

Estimated net worth: US $49 billion
Source of income: Oracle Corporation

He co-founded the Oracle Corporation in 1977. Oracle became one of the successful database vendors competing with Sybase and Microsoft SQL Server. In March 2010, the Forbes list of billionaires, ranked Larry Ellison as the sixth richest person in the world and the third richest in America, with an estimated net worth of US$ 28 billion.

31. Mark Zuckerberg (1984- present)

Mark ZuckerbergFlickr

Estimated net worth: US $51 billion
Source of income: Facebook

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg launched his initial Facebook from Harvard’s dormitory rooms. With the rapid increase in popularity, Facebook became a social networking site with 1.6 billion users. Zuckerberg started writing software when he was in middle school.  He is also known for his philanthropic works.

30. Jeff Bezos (1964-present)

Jeff BezosFlickr

Estimated net worth: US $63.3 billion
Source of income: Amazon.com

As the founder of Amazon.com he played a major role in the development of e-commerce industry. Apart from Amazon, he also founded the Blue Origin an aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight services company in 2000. In 2013, he also bought The Washington Post newspaper.

29. Sam Walton (1918-1992)

Sam Walton

Estimated worth: US $64.5 billion
Source of income: WalMart

Sam Walton in 1945 purchased  a Ben Franklin variety store in Newport Arkansas. A huge success motivated young Walton to lease another store within some distance. By 1962, he and his brother owned 16 different stores in the three major states of the country. During the same year, the first Wal-Mart was inaugurated then known by the name of Wal-Mart Discount City store.

28. Marshall Field (1834-1906)

Marshall Fieldwikimedia

Estimated worth: US $66.1 billion
Source of income: Marshall field department store

Marshall Field was an American entrepreneur and founder of the Marshall field’s department store (defunct, now as Macy’s). At the age of 21, he started working at John V. Farwell & Co. department store in Chicago. Soon in 1862, he became a senior partner at the firm and then he made a new company under the name of  “Field, Leiter & Co.”. In 1867, Field, Leiter & Company reported total revenues of $12 million.

27. Warren Buffett (1930- present)

Warren Buffett

Estimated worth: US $66.4 billion
Source of income: Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Edward Buffett is known as the most successful investor in the world. Often referred as the “Wizard of Omaha”, Buffett started his journey from Buffett-Falk & Co. as an investment salesman to the billion dollar business. His largest shareholding company, Berkshire Hathaway now own shares of companies like Coca-Cola, General Motors and AT&T, American Express to just name a few.

26. Stephen Van Rensselaer III (1746-1839)

Stephen Van Rensselaer IIIwikimedia

Estimated worth: US $68.5 billion

Stephen Van Rensseler was the Lieutenant Governor of the New York (1795-1801) and a member of the United States House of Representatives. He was one of the largest landowners in the New York state, thanks to his family legacy.

25. Jason Gould (1836-1892)

Jason Gouldwikimedia

Estimated worth: US $71.2 billion
Source of income: American railroad business

Jason or Jay Gould was an American railroad executive and financer. He is one of the masterminds behind the transportation and railroad boom in America. Jason was also known as one of the biggest “robber barons” of the 19th century America.

24. Amancio Ortega (1936-present)

Amancio Ortegawikimedia

Estimated net worth: US $74.4 billion
Source of Income: Inditex Group

Amancio Ortega Gaona is a Spanish businessman and the founding chairman of the Inditex fashion group. The fashion group is well known for its worldwide chain Zara clothing and accessories retail shops. He opened his first Zara store in 1975.

23. Carlos Slim Helu (1940 -present)

Carlos Slim Helu

Estimated net worth: US $75.1 billion
Source of income: Grupo Carso or Grupo Sanborns SAB

During the year 2010-2013, Carlos Slim was ranked as the richest person in the Forbes list of richest personalities. The Mexican born business magnate owns assets from almost every sector of the Mexican economy. Telmex and America Movil are the two largest telecommunication companies in the Latin America and accounted for more than half of his total wealth.

22. Bill Gates (1955-present)

bill gatesFlickr

Estimated net worth: US $79 billion
Source of income: Microsoft Inc.

Bill Gates and his senior friend Paul Allen co-founded the Microsoft in 1976. It was in January 1975, when he saw an article about the Altair 8800 (microcomputer) in a magazine, he knew that the time of personal computers has begun and his dream of owning a company may come true. In 2000, he and his wife founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which by 2013 recognized as the wealthiest charitable foundation with more than $34 billion assets.

21. Friedrich Weyerhäuser (1834-1914)

Friedrich Weyerhäuser

Estimated worth: US $80 billion
Source of income: Weyerhaeuser Company

Friedrich Weyerhauser was the co- founder of Weyerhaeuser Company, a real investment company which currently owns more than 6 million acres of timberlands in U.S and Canada. At the age of 17, he worked in a brewing company for 2 years. Later he joined a mill factory and in few years Friedrich bought the business and started the company under his own name.

20. Don Simon Iturri Patino (1860-1947)

Don Simon Iturri Patino

Estimated worth: US $81.2 billion
Source of income: Mining business

Simon Iturri Patino was a Bolivian industrialist born in Sativanez locality. Patino earned his nickname “The Andean Rockefeller”. He in his early going started with ‘Compania Hunanchaca de Bolivia’ a mining company. A major land deed of what seems unprofitable deal cost his job. But later that same piece of land (located near Llallagua) changed his fortune. He ended up being the greatest industrialist in the Bolivian history.

19. Henry of Grosmont (1310-1361)

Henry of Grosmont

Estimated net worth: US $85.1 billion

Henry of Grosmont is also known by the names of 1st Duke of Lancaster, 4th Earl of Leicester was one of the prominent members of the English nobility in the 14th century. His trustworthiness earned himself a surreal amount of wealth at that time. He also spent his time in Prussia and France.

18. A.T Stewart (1803-1876)

A.T Stewart

Estimated worth: US $90 billion
Source of income: A.T. Stewart & Company

Alexander Turney Stewart opened his first fabrics store in New York City in 1823, located at 283 Broadway. Later in 1845 he constructed the “Marble Palace” at 280 Broadway most commonly known as “the cradle of the department store” which took A.T. Stewart & Company to the America’s one of the most successful retailers in the history.

17. Stephen Girard (1750-1831)

Stephen Girardwikimedia

Estimated worth: US $105 billion
Source of income: Bank of Stephen Girard, Investor

Stephen Girard was born in Etienne (France). During the War of 1812, Stephen Girard single-handedly rescued the U.S government from financial collapse. He bought the major stocks of the First Bank of the United States in 1811 and opened his own bank as Girard’s Bank or Bank of Stephen Girard.

16. John of Gaunt (1340-1399)

John of Gaunt

Estimated net worth: US $110 billion

John of Gaunt also known as 1st Duke of Lancaster. He was the son of the King Edward III and the regent of King Richard II. He owned castles and enormous estates across England and France.

15. Richard FitzAlan (1306-1376)

Richard FitzAlanfindagrave

Estimated worth: US $118.6 billion

Richard FitzAlan or the 10 Earl of Arundel was an English nobleman and one of the finest military leaders in the medieval period. He was also one of the richest nobilities during the reign of Edward III. FitzAlan fought the hundred year war of Scottish independence and spent the majority of his time there. In 1347, he awarded the Earldom of Surrey resulting in further increase of his wealth.

14. John Jacob Astor (1763-1848)

John Jacob Astor

Estimated worth: US $121 billion
Source of income: Fur trade

Johann Jakob Astor was a German- American businessman who was also the first millionaire in the United States. At the age of 16, he went all the way to England from Germany to work as a musical instrument manufacturer. He then migrated to the United States to work with his brother, but later he ended up as a fur trader.

His immense profits were a result of the Jay Treaty between England and the United States, which also opened new market opportunities in Canada. By the early 1800, he gathered almost a quarter million dollars and become one of the leading fur traders.

13. Heshen (1750-1799)


Estimated net worth: US $132 billion

Heshen was a high profiled official at the court of Qianlong Emperor the sixth emperor of the Qing dynasty in China. He was a member of the Plain Red Banner known as the most corrupt official in the Chinese history. His reign as the president of the Ministry of Revenue and Imperial Household Department made him one of the most powerful and richest individual in the Asian continent.

12. William de Warenne (1036-1088)

William de Warenne

Estimated worth: US $ 147.1 billion

William de Warenne was the first Earl of Surrey and one of the few who accompanied William the Conqueror at the battle of Hastings. According to Domesday Book (manuscript record of much of England and parts of Wales) he held substantial lands in the thirteen counties.

11. Marcus Licinius Crassus (115BC-53BC)

Marcus Licinius Crassus

Estimated worth: US $169.8 billion

Marcus Licinius Crassus was a Roman politician and Army General who fought along side with Julius Ceasar and Pompeius Magnus. He gained his major wealth through seizing properties and buying for cheap. The legend Crassus net worth was equaled the total annual budget of the Roman treasury.

10. Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877)

Cornelius Vanderbiltwikimedia

Estimated net worth: US $185 billion
Source of income: Railroad and shipping business

Cornelius Vanderbilt was an American businessman and a major philanthropist who made himself rich in railroad and shipping business. At the age 16, he decided to leave his job at his father’s ferry service and start one of his own. He was also known as “Commodore Vanderbilt”.

9. Henry Ford (1863-1947)

Henry Ford

Estimated worth: US $188 billion
Source of income: Ford Motor Company

Henry Ford founded the famous Ford Motor Company in 1903. His innovative led him towards great success. One interesting step that he took was to start offering $5 a day wage around ($120 today) which were pretty unorthodox in those days. He gets heavily criticized for the move, but it proved extremely profitable as labor starts flocking in bringing human capital ultimately raising overall productivity.

8. Muammar Qadhafi (1942-2011)

Muammar Qadhafi

Estimated net worth: US $200 billion

Muammar Qaddafi reportedly worth over $200 billion  assets in different bank accounts, real estate and corporate investments around the globe.  His extensive investments in Africa led his bank accounts to go hike as crazy. He had exercised uncontested control over largest oil reserves in Africa for the past 41 years.

7. Jakob Fugger (1459-1525)

Jakob Fuggerwikimedia

Estimated worth: US $277 billion
Source of income: Minning, Merchant

Jakob Fugger or “The Rich” Fugger was a German merchant, mining entrepreneur and a banker. He expanded the family business to much larger scale in all over the Europe. Throughout his carrier, he maintained his monopoly over copper and silver mining.

6. William the Conqueror (1027-1087)

William the Conqueror

Estimated worth: US $229.5 billion

William the Conqueror was the first Norman King of England from 1066 to 1087. William invaded England and defeated Earl Harold Godwison at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. He made his wealth by uniting the Kingdoms.

5. Mir Osman Ali Khan (1886-1967)

Mir Osman Ali Khan

Estimated worth: US $230 billion

From 1700s to 1948, major southern Indian states or princely states were ruled under Nizam. Mir Osman Ali Khan was one of the seven Nizam who ruled the State of Hyderabad. His private treasury was said to contain as much as € 100 million in gold and silver bullion. He even had his own public currency. His portrait was published on the cover of Time magazine in 1937.

4. Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov (1868-1918)

Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov

Estimated worth: US $300 billion

Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov is popularly known as Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia. His reign as the Tsar of Russian Federation saw the fall of Imperial Russia from the great power of the world to economic and political catastrophe, but at the same time his wealth strikes the new heights.

3. Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)

Andrew Carnegie

Estimated net worth: US $372 billion
Source of income: Iron and steel company

He was a Scottish-American industrialist who is accounted for major steel industry boom in the late 19th century. Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Steel Company in 1892. By controlling the most extensive integrated iron and steel operation as an individual in the United States, he became one of the prominent figures in the country’s overall economy.

Read: 7 Creative Ideas that got People Rich in No Time

2. John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937)

John D. Rockefeller

Estimated net worth: US $374 billion
Source of income: Standard Oil Company

John Davison Rockefeller was an American born industrialist and philanthropist. He founded the Standard Oil Company. The Company dominated the oil industry business in the United States for many years. His fortune upon his death in 1937 stood nearly US$ 1.5 billion.

1. Musa I of Mali (1280-1337)

Musa I of Maliwikimedia

Estimated worth: US $400+ billion

Read: 20 Youngest Billionaires in the World | Inspiration for others

The richest person ever lived is Mansa Musa I often referred as the “King of Kings”. Musa ruled the Malian Empire, today it is known as Mail, Timbuktu and Ghana. Gold mines were the main source of his wealth. Gold, which accounts for more than 50 percent of world supply today.

Written by
Varun Kumar

I am a professional technology and business research analyst with more than a decade of experience in the field. My main areas of expertise include software technologies, business strategies, competitive analysis, and staying up-to-date with market trends.

I hold a Master's degree in computer science from GGSIPU University. If you'd like to learn more about my latest projects and insights, please don't hesitate to reach out to me via email at [email protected].

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  • The plundered gold should be given back to their rightful owners, then the wealthiest countries/people of ‘our’ time would significantly change.