Mir Osman Ali Khan, $230 billion
You may never have heard of Mir Osman Ali Khan, but he was one of the wealthiest people in history. As ruler of the Hyderabad State in India, he grew his riches to a total of $230 billion. He became Nizam of Hyderabad after his father died in 1911. He reigned for 37 years, overseeing the expansion of education, electricity, and railroads in the region. He died in 1967, survived by his reported 149 children.
Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov, $300 billion
Known as Tsar Nicholas II, Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov amassed $300 billion worth of wealth during his tenure. Nicholas II was the last emperor of Russia before the country fell during the Russian Revolution. He and his family were eventually executed in 1918. Notably, Nicholas II became a saint recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church. He is the wealthiest saint in human history.
Andrew Carnegie, $310 billion
Andrew Carnegie, an incredibly wealthy and powerful industrialist, came to prominence during the mid-1800s by way of the steel industry. Having been born in Scotland, Carnegie came from a very poor family that entered the United States in the late 1840s. After successfully investing in a number of ventures, Carnegie founded the U.S. Steel Corp., which earned him most of his $310 billion fortune. He is also known for giving away almost all of it, and is remembered as one of the world’s foremost philanthropists.
John D. Rockefeller, $340 billion
The Rockefeller name is deeply ingrained in American history. John D. Rockefeller’s $340 billion fortune still stands today as nearly the largest the world has ever seen. Born in 1839 in New York, he grew to prominence over his lifetime as the co-founder of Standard Oil. As one of the revolutionaries of the energy and petroleum industries, Rockefeller is reputed for his philanthropy. He founded two colleges during his lifetime, the University of Chicago and Rockefeller University. He died in 1937 at the age of 97.
Mansa Musa, $400 billion
Far and away the richest man to ever walk the face of the Earth was Mansa Musa, or Musa I of Mali. As the reigning emperor of the Mali empire, Musa commanded a fortune worth a jaw-dropping $400 billion. That’s worth more than four times the current richest person in the world, to put things in perspective. Musa was born in 1280 and lived until 1337 as a devout Muslim, constructing numerous educational centers and mosques across Africa, one of which can be seen above, in Timbuktu. Being as that Musa’s reign was so long ago, there are still varying reports about his death and abdication of the throne to his son. However, no one has been able to come even close to the amount of wealth Musa presided over.