Who Is Richest American in History?

Throughout history, there have been countless individuals who have accumulated vast fortunes. However, when it comes to the richest American in history, there is one name that stands out above the rest – John D. Rockefeller.

The Early Years of John D. Rockefeller

Born in 1839 in upstate New York, John D. Rockefeller was the second of six children. His family was relatively poor, and he began working at a young age to help support them. Despite their financial struggles, his parents instilled a strong work ethic and sense of discipline in their children.

Building an Empire

As a young man, Rockefeller started his own business selling produce and eventually moved on to investing in oil refineries. By the late 19th century, he had established Standard Oil – a company that controlled over 90% of the oil production and distribution in the United States.

Rockefeller’s business practices were often criticized for being ruthless and monopolistic. However, there is no denying that his success was impressive – by the time he retired in 1897, he was estimated to be worth around $900 million (equivalent to over $26 billion today).


Despite his controversial business practices, Rockefeller was also known for his extensive philanthropic work. In particular, he donated large sums of money to medical research and education.

In 1913, Rockefeller established the Rockefeller Foundation with a donation of $100 million (equivalent to over $2 billion today). The foundation has since provided funding for countless scientific breakthroughs and has supported various social causes.

The Legacy of John D. Rockefeller

When John D. Rockefeller passed away in 1937 at the age of 98, he left behind an incredible legacy as both a businessman and philanthropist. His impact on American industry cannot be overstated – he helped to shape the modern oil industry and paved the way for countless other entrepreneurs.

Today, Rockefeller’s name is synonymous with wealth and power. While there have been many other incredibly wealthy Americans throughout history, none have quite reached the level of success that he did.


In conclusion, John D. Rockefeller remains the richest American in history – a testament to his incredible business acumen and strategic thinking. While his legacy may be somewhat tarnished by his controversial business practices, there is no denying the impact that he had on American industry and philanthropy.