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Who was the richest man in all of history?

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It’s fairly easy to figure out who the wealthiest person in the United States is. Just look at the Forbes 100, and you see it’s Bill Gates, worth $67 billion. Carlos Slim, the Mexican titan, is worth $73 billion, a measly nine percent more. And with a bit of Googling, you could find similar answers for people across history. The famous Roman politician Marcus Crassus was thought to be among the republic’s wealthiest, with a net worth of 200 million sesterces. Fast forward through time, and John D. Rockefeller is said to have had a peak of $1.4 billion in 1937.

Comparing these fortunes across time and geography poses plentiful problems, though. It’s obviously a big challenge to convert sesterces to dollars. But it’s also difficult to compare Rockefeller’s wealth with Gates’ and Gates’ with Slim’s. The essential question is not how much money you have, but what can you buy with it, where you live and when you live. Slim can buy a lot more in his home of Mexico than Gates can in the United States. Not an easy thing to compare.

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Meet Mansa Musa I of Mali – the richest human being in all history

When we think of the world’s all-time richest people, names like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and John D Rockefeller immediately come to mind.

But few would have thought, or even heard of, Mansa Musa I of Mali – the obscure 14th century African king who was today named the richest person in all history.

With an inflation adjusted fortune of $400 billion, Mansa Musa I would have been considerably richer than the world’s current richest man, Carlos Slim,

who ranks in 22nd place with a relatively paltry $68 billion.

The list, compiled by the Celebrity Net Worth website, ranks the world’s 24 richest people of all time. The list advertises itself as the top 25,

but 26 names appear in the list.

Although the list spans 1000 years, some aspects of wealth appear consistent throughout history; there are no women on the list, only three

members are alive today, and 14 of the top 25 are American.

The list uses the annual 2199.6 per cent rate of inflation to adjust historic fortunes – a formula that means $100 million in 1913 would be

equal to £2.299.63 billion today.

Mansa Musa I ruled West Africa’s Malian Empire in the early 1300s, making his fortune by exploiting his country’s salt and gold production.

Many mosques he built as a young man still stand today.

After Mansa Musa I death in 1331, however, his heirs were unable to hang on to the fortune, and it was substantially depleted by civil wars and invading armies.

Second on the list are the Rothschild family, whose descendants are still among the richest people on the planet. Starting out in banking in the late 18th Century,

Mayer Amschel Rothschild’s finance house accumulated a total wealth of $350 billion. The money has since been divided between hundreds of descendants, many

of whom are business leaders today.

Meanwhile John D. Rockefeller, third on the list, is the richest American to have ever lived, worth $340billion in today's USD at the time of his death in 1937.

In comparison, the poorest man on the list is 82-year-old Warren Buffett, who at his peak net worth, before he started giving his fortune to charity, was $64billion.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/world-history/meet-mansa-musa-i-of-mali--the-richest-human-being-in-all-history-8213453.html

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I heard there was once a guy who died of old age, with a smile on his face and with no regrets. I vote for him, if he ever existed.

Edited by Eldorado
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The Pharaohs should not be discounted here. If we take the New Kingdom, and, as he is so well known, Tutankhamun, we can get a rough idea of how rich he might have been, very rough, by comparing the value of his inner gold coffin to the wages of an artisan. Now we know the AE did not have money in that period, so it is worked out in terms of units of copper. The gold coffin is equivalent to 242,000 units of copper, which in turn is equivalent to 3,000 years wages for one artisan. On the scale in that graph it shows Tutankhamun, only on the gold coffin, was worth the same as 3,000 artisans per year. This does not stack up against even the lowest on that list, but this is based on just one coffin. How much more gold and other valuables did a pharaoh possess? vastly more than one gold coffin. And though wealth was tide up in temples and with the top tier of society, in the end result Pharaoh could take everything if he wished. It's realistically not possible to ever know how much they were worth, but I suspect they would be high on the list, and who knows, maybe a pharaoh like Amunhotep III or Ramesses II may top the list, or even one of the Old Kingdom pharaohs perhaps. What would the value of the Great Pyramid be?.....

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Mansa Musa destabilized the economy of Egypt when he traveled through by giving so much gold away.

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Rockefeller was worth 1.4 in 1937 holly crap.he could have helped America out of the Deperstion

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