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Cornelius Vanderbilt was born on May 27 1794 He was an American Steamship and Railroad builder as well as a financier and promoter He was born to a poor family and he quit school at eleven He owned his first business at age sixteen as a transport and freight service By the war of 1812 the government was contracting him to supply forts around New York and the profits allowed him to build a schooner and two other boats for coastal trade He became known as the commodore because he had the largest schooner on the Hudson River By 1817 he had over 9000 to his name He sold his company and went to Thomas Gibbons in 1818 to be part of ferryboat service on the Hudson He charged less than a fourth of the going rate and was taken to court in Gibbons vs Ogden where the supreme court nullified the monopoly New York had given to Fulton and Livingston After that Vanderbilt controlled most of the Hudson River shipping He made himself and Gibbons a fortune In 1829 he decided to start his own company and he met his biggest rival Daniel Drew Vanderbilt eliminated all his competition by lowering his prices to a mere 12 and cent apiece Next he challenged the Hudson River Association in the Albany trade and they paid him to go elsewhere Vanderbilt continued to improve his businesses and his boats adding luxury and comfort to all his boats he launched the largest steamboat ever in existence in 1846 and it was named for him By 1840 his company had more than 100 steamboats and more employees than any other company in the United States at the time By the time he was 40 Vanderbilts fortune exceeded 500000 dollars but he was still looking for new opportunities During the 1849 gold rush Vanderbilt offered an overland route across the isthmus of Panama that saved 600 miles and this
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