Who is the richest person in history? Well, it depends on the time period. The richest person in modern history was John D. Rockefeller, with an adjusted net worth of $340 billion. The richest person in ancient history was African emperor Musa I of Mali, with a net worth of over $400 billion.
John D. Rockefeller was an oil magnate whose name you may know from Rockefeller Plaza or Rockefeller Center in New York. Rockefeller, at the height of his wealth, was worth $340 billion in today’s money, which is almost 4 times what Bill Gates, the current richest person, is worth today, and almost 10 times what Mark Zuckerberg is worth.
Rockefeller founded Standard Oil, which has since broken into companies including ExxonMobil and Chevron.
The second richest person in modern history, Andrew Carnegie, was also a wealthy industrialist from Rockefeller’s time period.
The richest person ever, and the richest person in ancient history, was Musa I of Mali. He was an ancient African emperor who controlled the West African Mali Empire. Musa I, at the height of his wealth, was worth around $400 billion in today’s money — about $60 billion more than Rockefeller.
Musa I’s wealth came from the value of natural resources in the area he controlled, including gold and salt. He conquered a large amount of territory in Africa and the middle east before his death in 1337.
The second most wealthy person from ancient history was William the Conqueror, who was less wealthy than both Rockefeller and Carnegie.
If you go back further, into BC years, there were emperors who owned more territory (and thus, natural resources) than Musa I. However, it can be difficult to quantify the value of their possessions. Probably the wealthiest was Augustus Caesar, who founded the Roman Empire around 10 years BC.