This question of the richest country in the world has undoubtedly crossed everyone’s mind more than a few times. Well, if a single person can accumulate more than 5% of the world’s wealth, imagine what an entire country could amass. With that said, let’s take a look at the wealthiest countries throughout different eras.
Richest Country in Medieval Times
Since records of any given nation’s GDP were not kept until the 19th century, answering this question is a tad more complicated. The term “medieval” refers to the Middle Ages, and during these times, there were several countries whose wealth may have been simply indescribable. We can’t be entirely sure of which country was the wealthiest during this period; however, we can make an educated guess who the major players were.
During this era, China was leaps and bounds ahead in technological innovation. They had the largest land area, and a sizable population means that they were a superpower even back then. With the Silk Road, a significant trading route throughout the empire, constantly injecting money into the country, China is almost certainly the wealthiest country during those times.
India was also a vast nation covering enormous land and a population that rivalled other prominent Asian countries. Moreover, due to the export of silks and grains and other commodities, India is undoubtedly yet another medieval country to pack some punch in terms of net worth and economic growth. These two great nations accounted for almost half of the entire world’s GDP during this period.
Roman Era Riches
Due to the sheer volume of the Roman Empires’ exploits and trade unifications throughout the early modern world, it is safe to say that Rome or Italy itself may indeed have been the wealthiest country during this period. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to put a number on it, and they were undoubtedly rivalled by the Chinese and Indian empires of the time, but as the saying goes, “all roads lead to Rome”.
Italy, by all accounts, seems to have done the best in Roman times; even though their economy was going through some tough times, their military might have ensured that they held the title of a most powerful nation in terms of monetary value. Well, that’s what many scholars would have us think.
Post-Roman Era Riches
Most historians agree that during this period, it was, in fact, Spain who managed to accumulate the most wealth and grow a mighty empire. Thanks to their colonisation and maritime exploration gave the Spanish this position.
From Europe to the New World and parts of Asia, the Spanish followed literally in the steps of the Romans. Another stepping stone to Spain’s growth was that the Romans brought about massive change by funnelling resources for infrastructure. It also helped that Spain experienced an educational boost by being exposed to various cultures, most notably the Arab cultures, which brought a lot of learning that allowed Spain to go on and conquer vast parts of the planet.
Richest Country of Modern Times
Without a doubt, the wealthiest country in modern times is Qatar in the Middle East. They boast a GDP of $191.85 billion and currently show a growth of 2% annually. Their unemployment rate is 0.1%. Their economic dominance is due to their oil and petroleum industry, accounting for 85% of their export earnings.