Legendary Wealth Down Through the Centuries

Legendary Wealth Down Through the Centuries
Legendary Wealth Down Through the Centuries

Wealth and Bill Gates have become synonymous for many in the current times

When we take a look down the annals of history, we stumble into a wealth of information! Potentially, there were many in the past that had thrice as much wealth as Gates.


Legendary Wealth Down Through the Centuries
Legendary Wealth Down Through the Centuries


Here is a list of the wealthiest legendary figures. They truly set the benchmark for wealth in the century they lived in:

11th century

William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror was the first Norman King of England. His worth was at an inflation-adjusted figure of $229.5 billion. He was born to Robert I who was the Duke of Normandy. Receiving a knighthood at a young age, William left behind a bloody trail in his ascent to the throne and beyond.

His claim to the throne began with the death of King Edward who did not name any heir to the throne. Harold Goodwin succeeded Edward much to William’s angst. The infamous Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066 saw the end of the Saxon rule. This brought in the reign of William the Conqueror.


Alan Rufus

The second wealthiest person in the same era was Alan Rufus, the military commander in William’s army. William the Conqueror gifted 250,000 acres of land, estimated to be worth $178.65 billion, to Rufus.


12th century

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan was possibly born in 1162 and coroneted in 1206. Gruesome massacres and slaughters always accompanied the conquests the Mongolian king made.



Born to a humble, homeless family, Genghis Khan’s story is a remarkable one of rags to riches. He amassed huge amounts of land and wealth, although the true estimates are not available.


13th century

Filippo di Amedeo de Peruzzi

Peruzzi belonged to a banking family. He made his billions in the family business of selling and lending money. He shot to fame in 1275 when he opened bank branches in Paris, London and Naples. His net worth was around $100 billion to $200 billion.

The family carved their wealth by their dealings in jewelry, silk, wool, and spices. Besides, they owned many hotels and ships all over Europe.


Legendary Wealth Down Through the Centuries
Legendary Wealth Down Through the Centuries

14th century

Mansa Musa I

Musa was the tenth king of the Mali Empire in the 13th century. Mansa means “Sultan or Emperor.” Born in the 1280s, Musa’s reign of 25 years could be aptly termed as an era of opulence and grandeur.

The West African region was the largest producer of gold at that time. Besides gold, the West African region was also the world’s largest producer of salt.

Jacob Davidson of Time magazine wrote that Musa had “inconceivable amounts of wealth.” King Musa conquered about 24 cities during his reign. This spread his vast empire over 2000 miles.

His pilgrimage to Mecca was probably the first giveaway of the extent of his wealth. At the time of his death in 1331, his net worth was around $400 billion!


15th century

Jakob Fugger

Jakob Fugger was born on 6th March 1459 and earned the name of Jakob Fugger the Rich. Fugger was the most famous man of his time. At the time of his death in December 1525, he left behind a legacy of 2,032,652 guilders.



Born in Venice, Fugger established his trade all across Europe. He was a banker, miner, and a merchant, who laid the foundation of his wealth with textile trade with Italy. With inflation adjusted, Fugger had a net worth between $60 to $275 billion.


16th century

Akbar the Magnificent

The Mughal Emperor reformed the Indian subcontinent. During his reign between 1542 AD and 1605 AD, he was worth around $340 million.

He provided able governance and centralized administration. His land reforms led to a surplus of agricultural produce. The economy flourished. A fair tax system also contributed to the nation’s prosperity.


17th century


Abu’l Muzaffar Muhi-ud-Din Muhammad was commonly known by the name Aurangzeb. He ruled over the Indian subcontinent for 45 years.

Aurangzeb was also said to be the last noteworthy Mughal emperor. Famous for his expansion efforts, he conquered almost all of southern India by 1689.

He was the richest man alive in that century. Aurangzeb’s net worth was close to $19 billion.


Legendary Wealth Down Through the Centuries
Legendary Wealth Down Through the Centuries

18th century

Stephen Girard

A French-born banker and philanthropist, Girard was the fourth richest American ever. He opened his first bank called “Girard Bank” in 1811.

He was able to pull the US government out of trouble during the war of 1812. His net worth was around $105 billion, which he bequeathed to charitable trusts.


19th century

The Rothschild Family

The Rothschild family has an estimated net worth of a trillion dollars. The international banking firm spread throughout many areas. These areas included Vienna, Frankfurt, London, and Paris.

The family diversified into many other businesses. These included real estate, wine, mining, and finance. The wealth creation was a result of the efforts of the entire dynasty rather than any one individual.


20th century

John D Rockefeller

The late 19th and the 20th centuries had many competitors for the title of wealthiest men. John D. Rockefeller makes it to the top as the richest American ever!



Worth $340billion at the time of his death, Rockefeller made his fortunes in the oil business. His Standard Oil Company, founded in 1870 was just the beginning.

His foundation Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research became a university. It discovered the way to eradicate yellow fever and hookworm.


21st century

Muammar Gaddafi

The Libyan leader, many believe, died richer than Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Carlos Slim combined! His net worth was around $200 billion at the time of his death.

He was able to amass such a huge wealth because of his control over Libya’s oil resources. Investigations revealed money hidden in many bank accounts across multiple countries.

History will never forget these richest people. They made a significant impact, in their own way, to the world we live today!