John Jacob Astor was the most renowned person in the United States in the 19th century. He gained fame as a fur tycoon in the world. Astor was one of the first examples of a classic American myth: poor boy sails to America and becomes rich through hard effort. In Astor’s case, it wasn’t a myth: He sailed from London to Baltimore before he was 20 with little money. At his death, he was the wealthiest man in the U.S.
The traditional narrative of his biography is how he gained a fortune purchasing and selling animal furs, notably beaver skins, to make men’s hats; subsequently, he made successful property purchases in New York City, where his name is glorified in the Waldorf-Astoria luxury hotel. His function as an international drug dealer who lent the U.S. government money is less well-known. Later he became famous as a fur tycoon.
We had an exciting story about Fur Tycoon Astor, and we covered his early life, a $300 gift, and death.
How Was John Jacob Astor Early Life?
Astor was born in Waldorf, Germany, near Heidelberg. According to the Dictionary of American Biography, Astor’s butcher father was “jovial, good-for-nothing more at home in the beer-house than at home” John Jacob, the youngest of three sons, left Waldorf for London at age 17. To pay for his trip, he shipped logs on the Rhine.
Astor spent three years in London learning English, working in the music business with his brother, and saving money to join his other brother in New York. Astor spent the Revolutionary War in England (1775–1833). After England and the nascent United States signed a peace treaty in 1783.
Astor bought the cheapest ticket to Baltimore. He had $7 and $25 to sell in New York. Astor’s ship became caught in ice near Baltimore, and he spent two months there until spring 1784. While waiting for the ship, Astor encountered a German traveler who had bought Native American furs. This encounter may have inspired Astor’s first profitable enterprise, the fur trade.
A Bride And 300 Dollars
In March 1784, Astor traveled to New York to join his older brother after landing in Baltimore. According to several accounts of his early activities in New York, Astor established a modest shop in Manhattan within two years and engaged in the business of purchasing and selling furs.
Astor stood at the height of around 5′ 9″ tall. Astor tied the knot with Sarah Todd and got a $300 wedding gift from her family. The couple might start a business with the support of this cash, which was a sizeable quantity of money in 1786.
How Did John Astor Become Fur Tycoon?
Astor became a wealthy fur trader, buying animal skins from Native Americans or “mountain men” who trapped animals in the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest before becoming the fur tycoon. Fur manufacturers bought Astor’s furs. Astor sometimes traveled alone, once to Mackinaw, Michigan, but mainly employed someone to deal for him when buying furs.
Astor used his location to gain a fortune. He entered the fur industry before men’s fur hats became fashionable. He created the corporation when the U.S. was prepared to swiftly expand into the interior of North America, well beyond the territory east of the Appalachians that English settlers had colonized in Virginia and Massachusetts.
Astor visited London in 1799 to promote his fur business overseas, becoming the fur tycoon. While in London, the British East India Company awarded Astor a license. This authorization permitted Astor’s ships to operate in any company-managed port.
Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826; 1801–1809) negotiated a deal with France in April 1803 to buy a large wilderness region west of the Mississippi River. In 1801, Jefferson sent Captains William Clark and Meriwether Lewis to explore the new land. It allowed Astor to compete with the Northwest Company, a prominent English fur-trading company.
Before Lewis and Clark, Astor had transformed his small store into a thriving business and his $25 immigrant fortune into over $250,000. 1808: Astor co-founded the American Fur Company. He decided to build a castle where the Columbia River meets the Pacific in Oregon. European and Native American fur trappers could sell to Astor there. In exchange, Astor’s ships would deliver the furs to China.
Fur tycoon Astor first founded Astoria, Oregon, a fur-trading settlement. The US-UK War of 1812 led the 1811 plan to collapse almost immediately (1812–14). Due to the possibility of a British military capture of Astoria, Astor’s envoy sold the outpost to his rival, the Canadian-owned Northwest Company, for a loss. The War of 1812 interrupted Astor’s plan.
Fur Tycoon Astor’s company did gain from the war, though. Despite the high fee, Astor was prepared to lend to the U.S. government. Astor and other investors bought government bonds for 82 cents on the dollar in 1814. The U. S government agreed to repay a loan of 82 cents with an interest rate of about 22 percent.
As a Fur Tycoon Astor’s strong economic judgment and influence on government policy helped him accumulate one of the immense fortunes in early American history during the next 20 years. Astor’s company suffered from Native American incursions. Rocky Mountain trappers were better at exchanging furs with Native Americans than Astor’s.
Astor’s fur business excitement diminished. In 1834, Fur tycoon Astor sold the corporation. He had already made a fortune from the firm and invested in NYC real estate. Two early business practices harmed Astor’s reputation as one of the earliest and most successful “rags-to-riches” immigrants to the U.S. These businesses utilized alcohol and opium.
Astor expanded his operation to encompass China, and he sold highly addictive opium. Opium, a heroin precursor, was an exception. Afghanistan, Turkey, and India grow poppy seeds. The worldwide opium trade, with China as its primary market despite Chinese objections.
The EIC managed British trade with Asia. Astor was allowed to ship products to East India Company ports. He first promoted furs in China, then silk and tea.
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Fur Tycoon Astor Death
Fur Tycoon Astor died in 1848 at 84. His $20 million wealth (or $375 million in 2002) made him America’s richest man. Astor wouldn’t give up his money, unlike other self-made millionaires who started with less. In 1895, he gave $400,000 to create the Astor Library, which became the New York Public Library.
Who Was the Fur Tycoon for Whom the Northwest Oregon City Was Named?
L.A. Times Crossword can be tricky and complex at times. We have created the L.A. Times Crossword Clue for today. If you are unable to determine the correct response to today’s L.A. Times Crossword Clue for the Fur tycoon after whom a city in northwest Oregon was named, you can check the answer below.
Answer: His Full name was John Jacob Astor. ( Fur Tycoon)
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