Found this interesting article of the top ten richest people of all time on wikipedia.

Lest you think this impossible to actually qualify this they have a pretty straight-forward system:
“The ranking process is done by the percentage of the total GDP of the nation they lived in at the time they were alive. Whether or not their fortune was inherited, the list records the people at the time of their greatest net worth, not by their current net worth, or their net worth when they died.”

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