Apart from their net worth, what else does it take to make a family powerful? You could consider the number of businesses that they’ve invested in, the level of influence they wield on the world’s business. and even political affairs. Some say that because of their immense wealth and power, these families can control the world and do anything as they please.
For many centuries the Rothschild family has been ruling the world with their countless wealth and enormous influence and power since Mayer Amschel Rothschild founded the banking empire during the 18th century. They are still known as the family who controls several of the world’s central banks and therefore they have cemented their position as the “banking dynasty” of the world. The Rothschild Group operates in over 40 countries offering investment banking services. In addition, the Rothschilds own several companies like Glencore, Rio Tinto, and RIT Capital.
Despite being possibly the wealthiest family in human history, not one Rothschild has appeared in Forbes‘ list of the wealthiest people — not even a single occasion. It’s because their vast fortune has been distributed among the family members over the years.
As with many rich and powerful families, the Rothschilds are believed to have been involved in several conspiracy theories. Check out our other gallery dedicated to the Rothschilds.
The Walton family is known for owning the Wal-Mart chain of retail stores, founded by entrepreneur Sam Walton in 1962. Wal-Mart is currently the world’s biggest retailer with over $400 billion in annual revenues and over 6,300 Wal-Mart stores in the US and in many other countries. As of July 2016, the family is worth $130 billion and collectively has a 52% share of the company.
A powerful family hailing from Stellenbosch, South Africa, the Rupert family owns several luxury brands such as Cartier, Mont Blanc, and Dunhill under the Richemont banner. In addition, they also control Remgro, a banking investment group.
The Rupert family also shares wine business with the Rothschilds and has a huge stake in the wines and liquors business — the clan controls 80% of South Africa’s brandy sales. The family also runs a line of private hospitals.
The Astor dynasty started in the 18th century when John Jacob Astor started a fur business which helped him to become one of the first multi-millionaires in the United States. Then the family empire expanded to many other businesses such as hotels and real estate, and even the New York Public Library. They have since become one of the world’s most influential families, with some members gaining prominence in politics and society as well — some even acquired noble titles.
Also carrying the Astor legacy are the buildings, streets, and suburbs of New York City which are named “Astor” or “Astoria.”
Any list of the world’s richest and most powerful families cannot be complete without mentioning the Rockefeller family. Their vast fortune was first made from the oil business way back in the 19th century. The founder of the dynasty, John D. Rockefeller, soon became an oil magnate and was (and still is) considered the wealthiest American of all time. The family soon had a vise-like grip over the oil industry that it led to the creation of the antitrust law to break up their monopoly of the business.
The Rockefellers also control JP Morgan Chase, one of the world’s largest and most prominent banking and financial institutions.
While the Porsche car is everyone’s dream luxury car, the Volkswagen is the every day man’s car. But Porsche and Volkswagen are, in fact, sister companies, and are owned by the same family. Ferdinand Piech, who used to head Porsche, is the grandson of the founder Ferdinand Porsche. Piech’s wife, on the other hand, once controlled Volkswagen. Indeed, this multinational automobile company is run by just a single family.
This family’s influence on American politics is undeniable. For over 60 years, the Bush family has been prominent in American politics. Not to mention that George Bush and later his son George W. Bush had become presidents — leaders of the most powerful nation in the world. The Bush family has also produced two senators and governors.
Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim Helu was named by Forbes as the world’s wealthiest man from 2010 to 2013. Slim and his family operate various businesses such as America Movil and Grupo Financiero Inbursa.
As of 2015, Slim has a net worth of $77.2 billion. Due to their vast wealth and the reach of their business (especially in the telecoms industry), it’s not a long shot that Slim and his family can control anyone.
It’s no doubt that Bill Gates is a “Bill”-ionaire — between the years 1995 and 2007 he was named by Forbes as the world’s wealthiest man. Despite his vast wealth and the global reach of his company Microsoft, he, his wife Melinda, and their three children choose to eschew the glamorous lifestyle usually observed in most billionaires. However, the Gates family has been involved in various charitable causes and other philanthropic works.
Presently, the Koch family is the second wealthiest family in the US with a net worth of $86 billion. They control the conglomerate Koch Industries, which started as an oil refinery founded by Fred C. Koch. The family is also known for their involvement in political and social circles as well as for charitable work.
Bernard Arnault is the Chairman and CEO of the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH (which he owns) and Chairman of Christian Dior. Arnault as well as his two children Antoine and Delphine control many luxury brands such as Fendi, Sephora, DKNY, and Bulgari. He has also invested in many web companies such as Netflix. Arnault is considered one of the most powerful figures in France.