Astor John Jacob

This essay has a total of 578 words and 3 pages.

Astor John Jacob



John Jacob Astor lived through1763-1848. He was a fur trader, businessman, and real estate investor. Astor began life as one of twelve children of a poor German butcher and died the richest man in America. The making of a great fortune was the aim and purpose of Astor's life, and he accomplished it by dominating the American fur trade and investing his profits in the real estate of burgeoning New York City. Shortly before his death, Astor was asked if he would have done anything differently with his life. He is supposed to have replied that his only regret was not having bought all of Manhattan.

Astor was born in the small town of Waldorf, near Heidelberg, Germany. At twenty he followed his older brother Henry to New York, arriving with hardly a penny. He became a clerk to a fur trader and mastered that business quickly. His employer was impressed with Astor's intelligence and energy and entrusted him with more and more responsibilities, including buying furs upstate and selling them in London.

Before long Astor was operating on his own account and prospered at once. He began putting his profits into Manhattan real estate, investing nearly $7,000, a large sum of money in those days, between 1789 and 1791. Astor's strategy was to buy, very cheaply, land that lay far beyond the developed area of the city and then to wait for the city's rapid growth to reach his lots. In 1803, for instance, he paid $25,000 for seventy acres located more than an hour's ride north of what were then the city's physical limits. By the 1870s the land was worth $20 million to the A

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