(WXIA) - A recent report by CelebrityNetworth.com gathered a list of the richest people that ever lived, adjusted for inflation. The top slot on the list belongs to a West African king whose personal net worth came to more than $400 billion when adjusted for inflation at the time of his death in 1331.
The report points out that when combined, the 25 people on the list control some $4.3 trillion. Mind you, the current richest person in the world, Mexican magnate Carlos Slim Helu, isn't in the top 20. And Donald Trump? He's not even on the list.
Mansa Musa or Musa I, who ruled what was called the Malian Empire in West Africa - which encompassed much of the modern-day nations of Mali and Ghana. His empire produced more than half the world's supply of salt at that time. In addition, Musa's acquisition of gold in the Mediterranean region at the time made him the only person in recorded history, according to historical texts, that a single person controlled the price of gold in that region. His total net worth, when adjusted for 2012 dollars, came to more than $400 billion.
The House of Rothschild is well known as a European banking dynasty dating from the 18th Century. Conspiracy theories surrounding the family's wealth have been postulated for many years, with many theorists insisting that the family controls the bulk of the world's wealth and used that to control or command the governments of nations.
The family's businesses can be traced to Mayer Amschel Rothschild (born 1744), whose finance house grew to conduct business across Europe. Rothschild placed each of his five sons in the five main European financial centers of the day to conduct the family's business. In later years, the family diversified their businesses to include mining, mixed farming and charities in addition to banking and finance. The family's net worth today is in the neighborhood of $350 million.
John D. Rockefeller is the richest American to have ever lived, with a net worth at the time of his death in 1937 (in 2012 dollars) of about $340 million. Rockefeller is known as the founder of the original Standard Oil Company in 1870, which in its federal monopoly breakup in the 1890s, is the forerunner of many of today's oil companies, including BP, ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips and Marathon.
An interesting sidelight - In 1844, Rockefeller provided significant funding for what is now Spelman College in Atlanta.
Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie made most of his fortune by selling his Carnegie Steel Company to J.P. Morgan in 1901. In today's dollars, Carnegie was worth $310 billion. But after selling his steel company, he donated most of his fortune to charitable causes, with his final $30 million being donated to charity after his death in 1919.
Tsar Nicholas II, the last of the Russian Tsars, ruled the Russian Empire from 1894 until he abdicated following the February Revolution in 1917. Nicholas was worth about $300 billion in today's dollars at the time of his fall from grace. He and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks on the orders of Vladimir Lenin and others a year later.
Mir Osman Ali Khan ruled the state of Hyderabad between 1911 and 1948, when it merged into the nation of India. By 1937, Khan was referred to by Time Magazine as the richest man in the world. In today's dollars, he was worth $236 billion.
William the Conqueror invaded England and seized it in the Battle of Hastings in 1066, before reigning until his death in 1087. He was worth about $229 billion in today's dollars, which he left to his sons when he died.
Reports began appearing after the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi that he had a secret net worth of more than $200 billion. After his death, billions were seized from foreign bank accounts and in foreign real estate.
Henry Ford developed the assembly line and made the first affordable automobile, which revolutionized the early automotive industry. By the time of his death in 1947, Ford's net worth was somewhere near $199 billion. Most of the wealth went to the Ford Foundation. The Ford family still owns controlling shares in the company that bears the family's name. The Ford family - through grandson William Clay Ford Sr., owns the NFL's Detroit Lions.
Cornelius Vanderbilt made his initial fortune in the steamboat industry, running lines along both coasts before investing in railroads at the age of 70. By 1870, Vanderbilt had consolidated his railroads into what would ultimately become the New York Central Railroad. Vanderbilt was also the initial benefactor for the university named for him, Nashville's Vanderbilt University - despite his never having visiting the South. By the time of his death in 1877, Vanderbilt's estate was worth $185 billion in modern dollars.
Alan Rufus, born in 1040, was military companion and counterpart to William the Conqueror. After Rufus helped William the Conqueror in the Battle of Hastings, Rufus was awarded 250,000 acres of land in England, which at the time was worth more than $178 billion in today's dollars.
Bill Gates is presently the second richest person alive with a net worth of about $62 billion. At the height of the dot-com boom in the late 90s, Gates' stock in Microsoft ballooned to a mammoth $136 billion in 2012 dollars.
William De Warenne was the first Earl of Surey, in 11th Century England. Like Rufus, the Earl received large tracts of English land for his service during the Battle of Hastings. When he died in 1088, his holdings were worth $146 billion in modern dollars.
John Jacob Astor was America's first multimillionaire. He built his empire in the fur trading world following the Revolutionary War. He later bought up some of the most sought-after real estate in Manhattan, including a 70 acre farm that ran from Broadway on the east to the Hudson River on the west, between the present day 42nd and 46th streets - land that today includes the western side of Times Square. By the time of his death in 1848, Astor was worth $121 billion in today's dollars.
Richard FitzAlan was an English land owner and nobleman known as the 10th Earl of Arundel. By the time of his death in 1376, he was worth about $118 billion in modern dollars.
John of Gaunt was the third surviving son of King Edward III, and served as regent to King Richard II. Due to his substantial land holdings, he was worth about $110 billion in 2012 dollars when he died in 1399.
Stephen Girard was a banker who personally saved the federal government from financial collapse during the War of 1812. His bank - called "Girard Bank" or "Girard's Bank" - was a primary source of government credit during the war. He later became a major shareholder and one of the directors of the Second Bank of the United States, which was a forerunner of the modern Federal Reserve System. When he died in 1831, Girard was worth $105 billion in today's dollars.
Alexander Turney Stewart made a multi-million dollar fortune through what was then the most lucrative dry goods firm in the world - A.T. Stewart & Co. His store was the true forerunner of the modern department store, and his mail order business was copied by Richard Sears, Montgomery Ward and others. Stewart later built the first one of the first of the large Fifth Avenue grand palace homes, at the corner of 34th Street and Fifth, directly across the street from where the Empire State Building stands today. At the time of his death in 1876, he was worth $90 billion in today's dollars.
Henry of Grosmont was the 1st Duke of Lancaster and a prominent nobleman in 14th Century England. By the time of his death, the Duke had amassed a net worth of more than $85 billion in modern dollars.
Friedrich Weyerhaeuser was a timber mogul and made his fortunes in the Weyerhaeuser Company, which is now one of the largest pulp and paper companies in the world. Weyerhaeuser started his company in 1900 with land purchased from the Great Northern Railway, from which he began to build his empire. By the latter portions of the 20th Century, the company had diversified into mortgage banking, personal care products and information services consulting. In the late 1990s, the company consolidated its resources to move back into its core paper and pulp business. Weyerhaeuser himself was worth $80 billion in 2012 dollars by the time he died in 1914.
Jay Gould was a railroad speculator and referred to as the consummate image of the "robber baron," who was the business enemy of Cornelius Vanderbilt, rivaling him in the railroad business. Gould obtained control of four western railroads, including the Union Pacific and the Missouri Pacific. By 1882, he controlled about 15 percent of all the rails in the United States. He later obtained controlling interest in the Western Union Telegraph Company. By the time of his death in 1892, Gould was worth $71 billion in 2012 dollars.
Mexican businessman Carlos Slim Helu is the richest person alive today, with a current net worth of $69 billion. His holdings are very diverse and include the telecommunications, technology, retailing and finance industries. Much of his wealth has come from Latin America's largest mobile phone carrier, America Movil.
Stephen van Rensselaer was the lieutenant governor of New York and a major land-owner in New York state. His family owned much of the land in what is now New York state, including Manhattan Island. Van Rensselaer was also the founder of what is now Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. At the time of his death in 1801, van Rensselaer was worth $68 billion in modern dollars.
Chicago real estate titan Marshall Field founded the legendary department store bearing his name. He became a Chicago institution, with Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History being named for him after his endowment of $1 million. Field, along with New York businessman John D. Rockefeller founded the University of Chicago to rival nearby Northwestern University in Evanston. At the time of his death in 1906, Field was worth some $66 billion.
Walmart founder Sam Walton had amassed a net worth of $65 billion at the time of his death in 1992.
The "Oracle of Omaha," Warren Buffett, considered by many to be the most successful investor of modern times had pushed his net worth to more than $64 billion before he began to give it all to charitable causes. His Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate is the eighth largest publicly owned company in the world. Its assets include GEICO, Fruit of the Loom, Brooks Sports, Russell Corporation, Dalton, Ga.-based Shaw Industries, Norcross, Ga.-based Albecca, Inc., Helzberg Diamonds, Kirby home cleaning systems and Dairy Queen.