Forbes publishes a list of the richest people in the world every year. According to the 2017 list, Bill Gates holds the first position for the 4th year in a row, followed by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and Warren Buffett, business magnate, investor, and the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
Yet there are some people, supposedly as rich or richer than these top 3, who never appeared on any lists of billionaires. We at WeGoRo invite you to analyze the legends and speculations about their wealth and their path to it. Read this list to the end to find out about the richest leaders, families, philanthropists, and, finally, the richest man in history.
He may not own 58 planes and 20 palaces as some sources report, but he does hold the first position on Forbes’s list of the world’s most powerful people. His rise to the top was not easy: born to a working-class family, he spent years working for Russian intelligence and security (KGB) and in local politics before becoming the country’s leader.
According to International Business Times, the net worth of this Russian leader has been widely speculated. Some even name him the richest man in the world with a net worth of $200 billion due to investments and shares in companies.
Another powerful leader whose wealth is not registered and is a product of speculation for many is the supreme leader of North Korea. The Western world knows almost nothing about the early life of this leader, not even his exact date of birth, place of birth, or place of education. He assumed the power of his father, Kim Jong-il, upon his death in 2011.
Kim Jong-un surely likes the luxurious life, spending money on liquor, designer cigarettes, resorts, yachts, cars, pianos, palaces, and even a private cinema.
Muammar Gaddafi was born to nomadic Bedouin parents and did not receive a thorough education, apart from learning to read the Koran and his military training. After he seized power in the bloodless military coup, he developed a political theory, later outlined in his famous The Green Book.
Various sources reported that the deceased Libyan dictator’s hidden riches would make him one of the richest men in history. According to Forbes, however, although Gaddafi did have a lavish lifestyle, there is no direct proof of such an amount of wealth.
The motto of this family is Concordia, Integritas, Industria (Harmony, Integrity, Industry). They own industries in financial services, real estate, mining, wine production, and energy all over the world. They were pioneers in providing capital for infrastructure projects.
Because of their low profile and private business activities, this family captures the imagination of both financial historians and conspiracy theorists alike.
The Al Saud family has ruled Saudi Arabia since the 18th century with full control over Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves. While the fall of the House of Saud is predicted almost every year by different sources, the family keeps on appearing on different lists of the richest families in the world.
With a net worth of $336 billion (adjusted for inflation), this business magnate, who died in 1937, is surely one of the richest men in history. This man eventually controlled about 90% of the American oil business, and he donated more than half a billion dollars to various educational, religious, and scientific causes. He also funded the establishment of the University of Chicago and Rockefeller University.
Andrew Carnegie was born in a poor family in Scotland but made his wealth in the steel industry in the US. What makes him stand out is that he gave away about 90% of his fortune to various charitable causes, proclaiming, “The man who dies rich dies disgraced.”
Another person who rose from rags to riches is Cornelius Vanderbilt. The son of an impoverished farmer and boatman, he quit school at the age of 11 and started working on the waterfront. He made money in steamships before venturing into his main source of income: railroads.
Although he did not engage much in philanthropy and left most of his wealth to one of his 13 children, he did give $1 million to Central University in Nashville, Tennessee.
The first Roman emperor, the adopted son of Julius Caesar, had control over a fortune equivalent to 20% of the entire empire’s economy — that’s $4.63 trillion nowadays. At one point, Augustus even owned Egypt, although that did not last long.
The richest human being in history was the ruler of the Malian Empire, which covered modern-day Ghana, Timbuktu, and Mali in West Africa. His wealth came from the production of salt and gold at a time when gold was in extremely high demand. During his reign, massive mosques were built that still stand today.
According to Rudolph Ware, an associate professor of history, there are pictures of Mansa Musa holding a scepter of gold on a throne of gold holding a cup of gold with a golden crown on his head. He was so rich that people struggled to describe his wealth.
Was any person on this list a surprise for you? How would you spend your money if you were as rich as Mansa Musa? Share your opinion in the comments.
Preview photo credit Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin/REUTERS