Richest People in History Jakob Fugger

About Jakob Fugger a German trader and one of this richest men in history, biography of the man.



Known as "the Rich," Jakob Fugger lived a life true to his motto: I want to gain while I can. Born in 1459 into an Augsburg family which had made a substantial amount of money in textiles and metals, Jakob Fugger created a family fortune still existent today among his descendants. What Fugger did was to construct a monopoly in copper in addition to an international merchandising operation specializing in spices. He then turned banker and lent his vast profits at fat interest rates to emperors, kings, princes, and even popes--despite the medieval ban on usury. In fact, he was a staunch supporter of the Church, thereby earning the enmity of reformer Martin Luther.

Fugger's greatest financial transaction was the literal purchase of the election to Holy Roman Emperor for Charles V, for whom Fugger raised 544,000 guilders in payoff money. The losing candidate--Francis I of France--could collect only 310,000 guilders. Naturally, Fugger relied upon his close ties to royalty for support in many of his extremely lucrative ventures.

How Much?

From 1511 to 1527, Fugger's financial empire of mines, factories, warehouses, banks, and other highly profitable businesses returned an average of 54% a year. When he died in 1525, the man called "the Rich" was worth approximately 3 million gold florins.

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