5 Of the wealthiest women ever to walk this Earth
When someone asks you about the richest people in History, you might think of people like Caesar, Rockefeller or Carnegie – and even if you don’t have those particularly in mind, chances are most will be men. Who could blame you? The words “wealth”’ and “power” have been sitting next to male names for so long that it is hard to realise that women also have their fair share of money!
So for the sake of equality, here is a list of 5 of the wealthiest women ever to walk this Earth.
Catherine the Great – $2 trillion
“The title of Queen rang sweet to my ears”, Catherine wrote. Not unlike many women, she longed for control; but power is rarely a given to ladies. So Catherine took it into her own hands. In 1762, she organises a coup and overthrows her husband, the Emperor of Russia. She had him arresting and killing while she was at it. The German princess, whose real name is actually Sophie, becomes a strong ruler to her adopted country. During 34 years (the longest rule for a female leader in Russia), Catherine II undertakes various military, economic and cultural projects. Russia is then considered as one of the greatest powers in Europe and the treasury is replenished, making Catherine’s assets worth the equivalent of about 2 trillion (that’s 12 zeroes!) Australian dollars.
Cleopatra – $1.3 trillion
Known for her beauty and power of seduction, Cleopatra was the ruler of the Ptolemaic kingdom, based in Egypt, until its fall to Roman hands in 30BC. If she is depicted as a femme fatale in our modern media, this is because most of the records we have about Cleopatra’s life come from the Roman Empire… Being portrayed as a temptress of Romans due to her relationships with Caesar and Mark Anthony. But she was much more than that. Called the “Queen of Kings”, she was an incredible ruler and led Egypt through wars and famines. Her wealth equivalent to our modern 1.3 trillion dollars.
Melinda Gates – $1.25 trillion
With shared assets worth almost as much as Cleopatra’s, Melinda Gates is one of the richest people of our times – but also one of the greatest philanthropists. She married Bill Gates, principal founder of Microsoft Corporation, in 1994. Since then, Bill and Melinda have received many awards for their humanitarian and philanthropic efforts, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama, the French Legion of Honour (the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits), and the German Otto Hahn Peace Medal. Melinda was also appointed honorary Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Alice Walton – $59 billion
American Heiress Alice Walton has to thank her lucky star, and her father – the founder of Wal-Mart Stores – for her fortune. She does not get involved in the running of the firm though. She’d rather spend her money on collecting art and breeding horses. She is also known for her financial support of the Democrats – she made substantial donations to the Hillary Victory Fund in 2016.
Liliane Bettencourt – $54 billion
The last wealthiest woman ever to walk the planet on our list is another heiress. French Liliane Bettencourt was the richest woman in the world at the time of her death in 2017 when her fortune was left to her daughter Françoise. Liliane was the principal shareholder of L’Oréal, one of the largest cosmetics companies on Earth. She inherited the money, but unfortunately in her case, money might have been the root of all evil. In the shadows of the founding of the company, Father Bettencourt funded pro-fascist movements and his company strangely flourished under the Nazi regime. Like father like daughter, Liliane seemed to abuse her wealth and, as a consequence, will be mostly remembered for tax-evasion schemes, secret Swiss bank accounts and political scandals.
Forbes published a World’s billionaires list in 2018: out of the richest 100 billionaires, 10 are women – this might seem like a small amount but it is actually more women than ever.
So, ladies, we are getting there! If you have no rich father, nor husband you can always inherit fortune and power. Let’s keep fighting for equality, and hopefully one day, many more women will be on the billionaires’ list!
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