A Classification of American Wealth
History and genealogy of the wealthy families of America - Sponsors

 Part 1 : Colonial and Mercantile America  Part 2 : America in the Gilded Age
 Part 3 : America in the Twentieth Century  Encyclopedia of American Wealth

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  Part I-Chapter 4 : New YorkCity Landlords  > John Jacob Astor     Previous   1 - 2   Next

   John Jacob Astor (1763-1848) : the richest man in America  

John Jacob Astor (1763-1848) emigrated from his hometown Waldorf in Germany, when he was 18 years old and first joined his older brother George Peter Astor, who was dealing in musical instruments in London. Two years later John Jacob Astor set on to America, where he first reached Baltimore and then settled in New York, his ultimate goal. At this time his sole capital was 50 $ and seven flutes, he had brought from England to sell in the New World

Astor never forgot to concentrate on his core business, the fur trade. In 1808, he founded the American Fur Company, a business enterprise that was set with an initial capital of 500'000 $, then a sizeable fortune. Astor's plan was the concentration of American fur trade under the umbrella of this company to counter the influence of the British-Canadian Hudson Bay Company, a well structured organization which dominated trade in Canada and the North-West of America


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Patroons and Manor Lords

Planter  Aristocrats

Shipping Merchants

The Landlords of New YorkCity

Bankers I

Early American Industrialists


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