Such concepts as "oligarch", "billionaire" are very popular in our time. The names of the richest people in the world are as popular as the names of movie or sports stars. Who became the very first billionaire?
The first person to make a fortune of one billion dollars was American John Rockefeller. And it happened less than a hundred years ago - September 29, 1916.
John was born in Richford on July 8, 1839. His father, William Rockefeller, was a lumberjack in his youth, but then left hard physical work and decided to start selling medicinal elixirs, which, he said, healed from a variety of ailments. William's entrepreneurial spirit allowed him to save up some money and buy a plot of land.
John, the second of six children in the Rockefeller family, started his entrepreneurial activity at the age of 7. He raised and sold turkeys, carefully writing down all his commercial successes in a special notebook. A few years later, young John was already lending to local farmers, giving them money at interest.
At the age of 16, Rockefeller got a job as an assistant accountant in a company that was engaged in real estate and shipping. In a short time, John grew up to be a manager, but left the post, as he was dissatisfied with the small salary. This was the end of Rockefeller's activities as an employee. Since then, he has worked only for himself.
During the American Civil War, Rockefeller was engaged in the supply of food to the army, which allowed him to increase his initial capital many times over. And then the era of the oil tycoon Rockefeller began. In the late fifties, he met the chemist Andrews, who was involved in the processing of oil, for which at that time there was a steady demand.
Rockefeller and Andrews opened a refinery in Cleveland and shipped their products across the country. In 1870, John created the Standard Oil Company, which was engaged not only in refining, but also in the exploration of oil fields. In addition, Rockefeller invested in the construction of railways, which significantly reduced the cost of transporting oil. Many of his competitors went bankrupt, unable to withstand the rivalry with the oil king. A few years later, Standard Oil controlled more than 90% of US oil production.
In addition to the oil company, John Rockefeller owned 16 railway and 6 steel companies, 6 shipping companies, several real estate firms, and 8 banks. On September 29, 1916, he was officially declared the first billionaire on the planet.
At the end of his life, Rockefeller spent a lot on charity, in addition, he sponsored several universities, the construction of the Rockefeller Center (a famous office center) in New York and donated $ 9 million for the construction of the UN building (it was thanks to his help that the UN headquarters was built in New York, and not in any other city in the world). A devout man, Rockefeller donated part of his fortune to the church, especially to the Northern Baptist community of which he was a member.
The founder of the richest dynasty in the world died on May 23, 1937. Rockefeller did not live to be a hundred years old only 3 years. His fortune at the time of his death was $ 1.4 billion (1937 par) or 1.54% of the US GDP. Adjusted for inflation, The New York Times estimates his wealth at about $ 192 billion in 2006 equivalent.