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Biographical profile of America's first millionaire, John Jacob Astor, a German immigrant who arrived in Manhattan with five English pounds in his pocket and amassed ownership of large swaths of Manhattan en route to becoming the largest and wealthiest landholder in New York. Astor established a major fur trading firm that extended its operations across the nation, helping blaze the Oregon Trail. He founded Astoria in 1811, the first American settlement on the West Coast. His ships crossed the Pacific and engaged in trade with China--including opium--but he shifted to a more lucrative commodity--liquor--as a means of exchange with Indians for fur. Although opposed to the War of 1812, when the U.S. faced a 17 million deficit, Astor advanced nearly 10 million to cover part of it. He earned the gratitude of the nation, and a bundle from war bonds. "The only hard step in building up my fortune," he said, "was the first thousand dollars." His biography, "Astoria," was written by his nephew--Washington Irving. Astor's 100,000-volume library was the progenitor of the New York Public Library. Award-winning author and syndicated columnist Daniel Alef, who has written more than 300 biographical profiles of America's greatest tycoons, brings out the story of Astor and his remarkable life of ups, downs and achievements. [1,354-word Titans of Fortune article]

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