Only 1 Living Person Cracks List of History's 10 Richest

It's the guy behind Microsoft
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2015 10:19 AM CDT
Only 1 Living Person Cracks List of History's 10 Richest
Bill Gates comes in at No. 9.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

It's relatively easy to rank the richest people in the world at any one time, but what about comparing them through history? Or as MONEY puts it, "Who had more money, John D. Rockefeller or Genghis Khan?" Rockefeller, as it turns out, according to Time's assessment of the 10 richest people ever. Bill Gates is the only one among the living. Some highlights:

  • The richest: That would be Mansa Musa, the king of Timbuktu who lived from 1280 to 1337. His kingdom had so much gold that historians struggle to describe his wealth in ways we can understand. Augustus Caesar is No. 2 with an estimate of $4.6 trillion in wealth.

  • More modern names: At No. 5 is Joseph Stalin, because he controlled the USSR, whose global economic output was equivalent to $7.5 trillion in today's money. Also: Andrew Carnegie (6) with $372 billion; John D. Rockefeller (7) with $341 billion; and Bill Gates (9) with $78.9 billion.
Click for the full list of 10, which includes the rationale behind the rankings. (More wealth stories.)

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