[Home]John Jacob Astor

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John Jacob Astor (1763-1848). Born in Walldorf, in Baden, Germany in 1763, he learnt English in London whilst working for his brother George? who had set up in business as a a manufacturer of musical instruments.

Astor arrived in the United States at the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783. Astor started a fur goods shop in New York City in the late 1780's.

Astor took advantage of a treaty called [Jay's Treaty]? between the United Kingdom and the United States in 1794 which opened new markets in Canada and the Great Lakes region at the expense of the Canadians. By 1800 he had amassed nearly a quarter of a millon dollars, and had become one of the leading figures in the fur trade. Astor was given permission to trade in ports monopolized by the [British East India Company]?, and greatly benefited from the fur trade with China. His plan to establish a fur trading company headquartered in Astoria Oregon failed when the British captured the posts during the [War of 1812]?.

Astor then turned his sights on New York City real estate. At the time of his death, Astor was the wealthiest person in the United States, leaving an estate estimated at around 20 million dollars.

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Last edited September 11, 2001 3:02 am by Larry Sanger (diff)