Published on July 16, 2016
John Jacob Astor (July 17, 1763 – March 29, 1848), born Johann Jakob Astor, was a German–American businessman, merchant, fur trader, and investor who was the first prominent member of the Astor family and the first multi-millionaire in the United States. He was the creator of the first trust in the United States.
Born in Germany, Astor emigrated to England as a teenager and worked as a musical instrument manufacturer. He moved to the United States after the American Revolutionary War. He entered the fur trade and built a monopoly, managing a business empire that extended to the Great Lakes region and Canada, and later expanded into the American West and Pacific coast. Seeing the decline of demand, he got out of the fur trade in 1830, diversifying by investing in New York City real estate and later becoming a famed patron of the arts.