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The Richest Americans In History

Updated April 18, 2019 20.8k views17 items

A list of the richest Americans in history, with pictures. These are the top wealthiest Americans ever. This list goes back all the way to the 1700s, including those who made their wealth through shipping, oil, automobiles, technology, and many other industries. The amount of money these people have held has grown from the hundreds of thousands, onto becoming millionaires, and now billionaires. While money isn't everything, the impact many of these people have had on United States history reverberates to this day. Perhaps then there is even more to these fellows than just being the top richest Americans.

  • Bill Gates
    Photo: Paolo Bona / Shutterstock
    William Henry Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, investor, author, philanthropist, and humanitarian. He is best known as the principal founder of Microsoft Corporation. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of chairman, CEO and chief software architect, while also being the largest individual shareholder until May 2014. Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Gates launched Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975; it went on to become the world's largest personal computer software company. Gates led the company as chairman and CEO until stepping down as CEO in January 2000, but he remained chairman and became chief software architect. In June...  more
    • Age: 64
    • Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States of America
    • Schools: Lakeside School, Harvard College

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  • John Werner Kluge (; September 21, 1914 – September 8, 2010) was a German-American entrepreneur who was at one time the richest person in the United States. He was best known as a television industry mogul in the United States....  more
    • Age: Dec. at 96 (1914-2010)
    • Birthplace: Chemnitz, Germany
    • Schools: Columbia University, Wayne State University
  • Sam Walton
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
    Samuel Moore Walton (March 29, 1918 – April 5, 1992) was an American businessman and entrepreneur best known for founding the retailers Walmart and Sam's Club. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. grew to be the world's largest corporation by revenue as well as the biggest private employer in the world. At one point in his life, he was the richest man in America....  more
    • Age: Dec. at 74 (1918-1992)
    • Birthplace: Kingfisher, Oklahoma
    • Schools: University of Missouri–Columbia, Hickman High School
    • Cause Of Death: Cancer, Bone cancer, Multiple myeloma

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    Daniel Ludwig

    Daniel Keith Ludwig (June 24, 1897 – August 27, 1992) was a United States shipping magnate, businessman with numerous companies, and billionaire. He pioneered the construction of super tankers in Japan, founded Exportadora de Sal, SA in Mexico and developed it as the largest salt company in the world, built a model community in association with his huge Jari project on the Amazon River in Brazil to produce pulp paper, and had numerous hotels around the world. Even though he was one of the wealthiest men of his day, with operations spanning 23 countries, his name was little known. Throughout his business life, he maintained a low profile; he stopped speaking to the press in the 1950s. Ludwig...  more
    • Age: Dec. at 95 (1897-1992)
    • Birthplace: South Haven, Michigan
    • Cause Of Death: Heart failure