How do today’s tech moguls match up in terms of net worth with their industrial-age predecessors? How do current 100 billion dollars from Mark Zuckerberg with the inflation-adjusted net values of Rockefeller, Carnegie and Vanderbilt?
So who are the richest Americans of all time? And, most importantly, when inflation is taken into account, Who is the richest american in history?
Here we show you, from smallest to largest, the 12 richest americans to date (inflation included).
12. Warren Buffett (1930-present) – $ 89 billion
He made billions like president of Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company that has interests in a wide variety of industries. Berkshire owns numerous companies, including GEICO. In addition to being one of the largest owners of Apple.
Buffett’s net worth is $ 88 billion. A fortune that Warren intends to donate to charity Before die. Although it is true, that the tycoon has already given 40 billion dollars to different charities, so his patrimony amounted to 130 trillion dollars.
11. Friedrich Weyerhaeuser (1834-19149) – $ 80 billion
After the Civil War, Friederich founded a lumber company whose profits allowed him to acquire 81,000 hectares of land, thus becoming one of the largest private landowners in the United States. His lumber company was extremely successful with a personal net worth of more than 80 billion dollars today.
10. AT Stewart (1803 – 1876) – $ 90 billion
This Irishman founded the first department stores in New York City that would eventually become the largest retail store in the world at that time. In 1869 Stewart’s net worth was estimated at more than a million dollars. When he died in 1876, his fortune reached 90 trillion dollars of the XXI century.
9. Stephen Girard (1750 – 1831) – $ 105 billion
French-born Stephen Girard made his fortune in shipping and, eventually, in banking. When he died he was the richest man in America with a fortune reaching the net worth of 105 trillion dollars. He had no descendants so he donated a large part of his estate to charity.
8. Mark Zuckerberg (1984-present) – $ 120 billion
Zuckerberg founded thefacebook.com in his Harvard room in 2004. He would probably never imagine that, 17 years later, the company would be so large that government agencies would call for it to be disbanded. It is undeniable that Zuckerberg has built an empire that has displaced all kinds of competition. His net worth is $ 100 billion, but his net worth is 120 trillion dollars.
7. John Jacob Astor (1763-1848) – $ 121 billion
He made his first fortune from the fur trade in America. With what he earned, he decided to acquire land in New York, including what would later become the Waldorf Astoria hotel. He was America’s first billionaire and, at the time of his death, his fortune was worth 121 trillion dollars from the actuality.
6. Bill Gates (1955-present) – $ 156 billion
In 1999, at the height of the dot-com bubble, Gates’ net worth exceeded $ 100 trillion, taking inflation into account, about $ 156 trillion today. In 2021 his fortune is 134 trillion dollars, which makes him the sixth richest American in history. However, the tycoon has donated 50 billion dollars to charities so his patrimony would actually be 206 trillion dollars.
5. Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) – $ 185 billion
He made a small fortune thanks to steamships, however, his greatest source of income would come to him at the age of 70, investing in railways. He used his money to found Vanderbilt University and his heirs still own large estates in New York. At the time of his death, his estate amounted to 185 trillion dollars from today.
4. Jeff Bezos (1964-present) – $ 200 billion
Fresh from being ousted by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the Amazon founder has held the top spot on Forbes’ richest list four years in a row. His patrimony amounts to $ 195 trillion not counting the 60 billion dollars that he had to give to his ex-wife in the divorce. If he remains married, his wealth would be 256 billion dollars,
3. Elon Musk (1971-present) – $ 210 billion
His first fortune was obtained thanks to the PayPal platform. With the money he earned he founded Tesla and SpaceX. Musk started 2020 with an estate valued at $ 28 billion. A figure that increased considerably since, in December, his wealth reached 170 billion dollars. 2021 does not look bad for the magnate either, in the two weeks that we have been in the year, Musk’s capital has increased by 40 billion dollars, that is, a total of 210 trillion dollars.
2. Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) – $ 310 billion
At the peak of the steel boom, Carnegie invested in steel companies. He later became the head of US Steel, which catapulted him into the high echelons of American wealth. In 1901 he sold his company to the banker JP Morgan for $ 480 million. When he died his fortune was 310 trillion dollars. After selling his business, he donated the proceeds to finance schools. According to legend, he had no intention of giving away a penny, but changed his mind after feeling guilty for having contributed to the harsh working conditions at the steel mills that made him enormously wealthy.
1.John D. Rockefeller (1839 – 1937) – $ 340 billion
John D. Rockefeller was not only the richest American who ever lived, but also one of the richest human beings in the history of the world, with a net worth equivalent to 340 trillion dollars today, when he died in 1937.
He was the founder of Standart Oil and it controlled more than 90% of the oil in the entire United States. The company was dissolved by the government for being a monopoly and divided into Amoco, Chevron Conoco and ExxonMobil.
The Rockefeller fortune it skyrocketed after fragmenting its monopoly. Separating their empire allowed companies to compete and operate at levels they couldn’t before. Huge courage was unleashed.
As the owner of small parts of each company, John D. saw his fortune explode. He was the first American to raise more than a trillion dollars and donated more than 500 million dollars to charity when death died. A story similar to that of Zuckerberg, right?