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Land is the ultimate commodity. While it might seem endless, there is a limited quantity of land that has no way of growing in inventory.
The total land surface of the entire earth is approximately 57,308,800 square miles. That’s a jaw-dropper for sure, but let’s take a closer look.
Of this total, about 35% is desert, and 25% are mountains, leaving more than half of the earth’s surface virtually uninhabitable. If you do the math, that whittles the square miles down to about 16 billion square acres.
Let’s break this down further. There are approximately 7.7 billion people in the world, based on 2000 calculations. Divide the total square miles of land by the sheer number of people, and each person would own about 1,000 square feet. This is a tiny plot of land.
But this does not take into account lakes, rivers, roads, and other public structures such as schools, shopping centers, hospitals, housing developments and more.
In case you’re wondering, the largest country in the world is Russia, which encompasses 11 percent of the world’s total land mass. The country includes 58,000,000 square miles.
Now that you have some awareness of the outrageous value of land and its inability to be reproduced, let’s look at some of the world’s largest land owners, many of which may surprise you! You may also be surprised that many of the largest landowners in the world are from Australia. Ok, let's dive in!
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1. The Family Of Queen Elizabeth II Of Great Britain
Although recently deceased, the Queen’s royal family will inherit the leadership, which makes them the technical owners of the country.
The total size of the British Commonwealth is an astounding 6.75 Billion acres.
2. The Catholic Church
This entity holds approximately 177 Million acres or 70 million hectares in countries across the globe. While this number may be surprising, it begins to make sense with the consideration of the number of churches and schools the Catholic Church owns. There are roughly 220,000 parishes worldwide alone.
In addition to churches, schools, and other physical properties, the church also owns farmland and other real estate throughout Italy.
3. The Inuit People In Nanuvut, Northern Canada
These indigenous people, known in the US as eskimos, living in the arctic own 87.5 Million acres.
This land was deeded to the people in the Nanuvut Land Claims Agreement Act with the Canadian government. Much of this land would be considered uninhabitable, however the Inuit families have no trouble living in the arctic.
4. Gina Rinehart
Rinehart is Australia’s richest person in the country, and also the number one private landowner. In 2012, she was also the richest woman in the world.
Her holdings include 22.7 Million acres used for mining operations and wagyu beef.
She owns roughly 1.2% of Australia's total landmass.
5. Farmland In China
The Mudanjiang City mega farm in China is owned by the country’s Zhongding Dairy Farming business.
The 22.5 million acres of dairy farmland is approximately the size of the country of Portugal, and houses more than 100,000 cows that produce 800 million liters of milk on an annual basis.
6. Joe Lewis And His Shareholders
Owners of The Australian Agriculture Company own 15.5 Million acres. The company is actually Australia's longest standing agricultural company, which was established way back in 1825.
The land is primarily used for cattle farming. The largest shareholder in this company is the Joe Lewis, who is number 12 on the list of the richest people in the UK.
7. MacLachlan Family
This is another Australia-based farming business purchased in 1888 that is now wholly owned by the descendants.
Known as the Jumback Pastoral Company, the farmland includes 12.5 Million acres and is a major supplier of wool.
8. The Handbury Group
The company owns and operates a cattle station and cattle property known as The Swinging Shovel in South Australia and The Rises in the western part of the country.
Total land ownership is 12 Million acres.
9. The Williams Family
This enormous cattle company is the largest working cattle station in the world, clocking in at over 10 Million acres.
It all began with Reg, Ron, and Bill Williams in 1967. They first purchased Nilpinna in southern Australia. Since, they have acquired 6 more pastoral land properties. The company is proud to st
10. The Costello And Oldfield Families
Just five years ago, the two families entered a joint venture to buy a cattle farm in Southern Australia.
The property, known as the Crown Point Pastoral Company, encompasses 7.5 Million acres.
11. Handelsbanken Shareholders
Swedish financial group, owns the Swedish Cellulose Company, which holds roughly 6.4 Million acres or 2.6 million hectares.
The company is actually the largest private owner of forestry land in Europe with its ownership found in northern Sweden. They employ roughly 3,600 individuals.
12. Mondi Group Shareholders
One of the world’s foremost packaging and paper companies, manages 5 Million aces in Southern Africa and Russia. The land is primarily forestry land.
The company employs roughly 21,000 people with around 100 production sites found in more than 30 countries.
The one thing in common for the owners of the most land in the world is this: farming. The moguls are using their land to produce everything from milk to wool. Rinehart, number 6 on the list, is in the mining business.
These ultra-wealthy families could invest the lion’s share of their money in many other assets: stocks and bonds, precious jewels or metals, but they overwhelmingly buy farmland.
This is a win-win for the moguls and the world’s growing population.