Biggest Individual Bankruptcies in History

Amassing wealth takes time, hard work and luck in most cases. Losing it all, on the other hand, may happen a lot faster and seem like a sinister twist of fate as shown by this list of the biggest individual bankruptcies in history. Some of these are modern Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings, others are older forms. Either way, from Henry Ford to Donald Trump, these are historical bankruptcy cases.

Biggest Bankruptcies in History

Biggest Bankruptcies in History



Biggest Individual Bankruptcies in History

With Today’s Money Equivalent (Based on Gold Value from the Time)

Plus Important Debt and Monetary Landmarks

  • 1527: Jakob Fugger: $296,000,000. Funded the construction of Vatican City
  • February, 1873: Coinage Act. This demonetized silver and embraced the gold standard.
  • March, 1900: Gold Standard Act Enacted.
  • 1901: Henry Ford: $2,000,000,000. Founded, then left, the Detroit Motor Company, which later developed into Cadillac Automobile Company.
  • 1929: Richard Whitney: $92,000,000. Embezzled money from many entities, including his own father-in-law.
  • 1929: Charles M. Schwab: Led Bethlehem Steel to become world’s largest independent steel producer.
  • January, 1934: Gold Reserve Act. Gold ownership and trade became criminal.
  • August, 1974: Gold ownership and trade became legal again.
  • 1987: Clint Murchison, Jr.: $500,000,000. Created the Dallas Cowboys football team.
  • 1988: Nelson Bunker Hunt & William Herbert Hunt: $1,000,000,000. Notoriously attempted to corner the world silver market.
  • 1991: Donald Trump: $1,100,000,000. Has used bankruptcy to fuel future business growth. 2004 wealth: $1,800,000,000. 2009 wealth: $1,250,000.
  • 2003: Mike Tyson: $300,000,000. Youngest person to win a heavyweight boxing championship.
  • 2009: Bob Fowler: $105,000,000. Bought charter planes, vineyards, and a large horse ranch.