Saturday, April 6, 2013

April 6: John Jacob Astor

On this date in History ... 1808:

John Jacob Astor forms the American Fur Company and goes on to become the first U.S. multi-millionaire. He was the creator of the first trust in America. 

Born in Germany, he migrated to London at 16 yrs old, then to America in 1784, at the age of 21. He became a leading figure in the fur trade but when his trading posts were captured by the British during the War of 1812, Astor joined the opium smuggling trade, purchasing ten tons of opium from Turkey and then shipping it to Canton (China).  In the 1830s, he got out of the fur trade and began developing tracts of land in Manhattan. 

At the time of his death, he was the wealthiest person in the US with a net worth of $20 million (approx. $110 billion in 2006 dollars). 


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