John Malone might not be America's most famous businessman, but he is undoubtedly the biggest landowner in the United States. Nicknamed the "Cable Cowboy," Malone rose quickly in the telecommunications industry, helping to build the cable provider Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI) from being a minor player in the 1970s to its acquisition by AT&T for $55 billion USD in 1999. But the 77-year-old's real claim to fame might be his love of buying land: Malone possesses more than 2.2 million acres of American soil, which includes farm fields, woods, and ranch land. That's roughly three times the size of the entire state of Rhode Island. Of course, if Malone is looking to reign supreme in real estate, he has a long way to go -- Queen Elizabeth II has long held the title of the world's largest landowner, since the Crown nominally owns a sixth of the Earth's dry land, including entire countries like Australia and Canada.
The land of the free (and the huge):
- Alaska is 425 times larger than Rhode Island and its coastline is five times longer than Florida's.
- Hawaii's Mauna Kea is actually 3,000 feet (900 m) taller than Mount Everest, but less than half of it is above sea level.
- Lake Superior contains enough water to cover all of North and South America in a foot (.3 m) of water.