Portrait of John Jacob Astor, I
JOHN JACOB ASTOR, I

German immigrant, fur trader and America's richest man at the time of his death, John Jacob Astor (1763-1848) maximized his profits by trading directly with Native Americans rather than with Anglo trappers. After selling his interest in his two trading companies Astor invested in massive amounts of Manhattan Island real estate, one parcel eventually becoming the site of the Hotel Astor.