Who Created Monopoly? (+History of Monopoly!)

It was over one hundred years ago that the game Monopoly was first created. Since then, it has become one of the most popular board games in the world, enjoyed by millions of people of all ages.

In this post, I will discuss in detail who created Monopoly, the history of Monopoly, and more to know this game better.

who created Monopoly

Let’s get started!

Who Created Monopoly?

The actual Creator of Monopoly is Elizabeth J. Magie Phillips as she created a very similar game named the Landlords game from which the concept of Monopoly was derived.

Image of Elizabeth J. Magie Phillips
Image of Elizabeth J. Magie Phillips, Source:
Unknown photographer
, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Another name associated with the creation of Monopoly is Charles Darrow. Charles Darrow created the entire Monopoly design using real places from Atlantic City.

Charles Darrow
Charles Darrow, Source:
BullsandBears
CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

He was a salesperson but unemployed. In 1934, he brought the game to the famous Parker Brothers, leading to its commercialization and making it popular worldwide.

The Monopoly game was not as popular as it is today. The Parkers even refused to buy the game from Darrow. Later, Charles Darrow started making his own games and sold them in a retail store. 

The success of the Monopoly game attracted the attention of the Parker brothers. After this, Parker’s brother re-approached Charles Darrow in 1935 and bought the game’s royalty.

A licensing deal was signed between the two this year. So, the Monopoly board game started selling at a tremendous rate of 5000 units every week, making it the most successful board game ever. 

History of Monopoly from the Early Days

For many years after that, Charles Darrow was known to be the originator of the game, and the Parker Brothers as the ones who commercialized the game and made it popular.

It was much later that an astonishing truth came up. Like every other great thing in the world, the mastermind behind this enormously popular Monopoly board game was a talented woman named Ms. Elizabeth. J. Magie Philips.

Elizabeth Magie was known to her friends as Magie. She was a Scottish descendant who very well felt the real problems in the life of a capitalist government.

The emerging issue so deeply grieved her that a stenographer started cultivating ways to manifest the ill effects of Monopoly.

Stories say that every night after she finished work at the office, she would return home and develop various designs and models to devise a board game that would reflect the true ideas of anti-monopolism.

The full pout of her development of the Monopoly board game was to reflect socialist political views.

She was staunch about her political beliefs and soon realized that campaigns and protests were not enough.

There has to be something more robust to express and convey her ideas about Capitalism.

During the beginning and mid of the 20th century, board games were just gaining popularity in the American background. So, she decided it was the best way to explore her ideas. 

Who Made Monopoly and Why?

Elizabeth J. Magie Phillips developed the Monopoly board game after many days of relentless hard work. She called the game “The Landlord’s Game.” The Monopoly Game was derived from this Landlord Game.

The fundamental theme of the game was how the landlord (capitalists) grabbed and illegally snatched lands from the peasants or the working class.

She promoted the game largely and even gave interviews to many magazines talking about the game.

In one of her famous interviews, she expressed her urge to call the game “Game of Life” because it is largely centered around the up and low tides of success and failure that we face in life.

Ms. Magie was an anti-monopolist. This socialist feminist was the inventor of the real concept of the game.

“Monopoly” is the most ironic name for the game because Magie divides the game to manifest and showcase the loopholes and bad effects of Monopoly and capitalism on the world economy.

She was an extremely talented feminist who, during her time, was widely known for promoting feminism and running various campaigns for the socialist working class pitting out the cruelty of a capitalist economy.

She has made a significant contribution to fighting against civil inequalities in America.

Magie is a shining name who gave her life to establishing the concept of equal pay for men and women in the workplace. This incredibly talented leftist feminist never gets the credit for developing the game. 

Where Did Monopoly Come From?

Monopoly came from the earliest human history of the stronger illegally acquiring the rights of the weaker. This has been the central pillar of the Capitalist economy in all large nations for a long time.

The upper social-economic layer of the society gets the maximum benefits and acquires the wealth, while the weaker section gets deprived.

Magie wanted to portray this theme through a board game that would entertain people and also aware them of the negativities of monopoly.

This board game was an anti-monopolist strategy. Magie – the socialist and staunchly leftist feminist, believed in equal rights and developed the board game with a similar intention. 

How Was the Monopoly Game When Created Compared to it is Now?

In the game developed by Elizabeth Magie, money, deeds, and properties were the central stakeholders of the game. Players could buy and sell properties and also put them up for rent.

The bank was the central institution for holding capital reserved for money. Players could borrow money from the bank whenever needed.

The game boards as divided into nine rectangular spaces, each grouped by railroads. On one corner of the primitive Monopoly board, three existed a figurine of Henry George – the socialist hero of Magie.

On the other corner, there were Public parks and poor houses. Jails were an essential entity in the game. 

As the game proceeded, the players performed tasks and earned wages. The game also reflected the idea that humans have an instinct to compete through nature.

Landlords Game
Image of Landlords Game, Source: Wikimedia Commons

She established two rules for the game – one through which monopolies grew, crushing the social working class who received minimal wages and had to pay rent.

The other rules emphasized rewarding the socialist working laborers more and creating an anti-monopolist setup for progress. 

Differences Between Magie’s Landlord Game and Today’s Hasbro Monopoly

1. Landlord’s game or the older version of Monopoly takes 1 hour at the maximum to complete, while today’s Monopoly game is lengthier and sometimes can continue infinitely. 

2. The physical board for both games is quite different. The original Monopoly game board designed by Magie was more of a checker’s board.

Nowadays, the board looks much different and has more details and added components than it was. Now there are several tracks and roads on the game board.

There are multiple 3D versions of the game now that were missing back then. 

3. Monopoly is best played when the number of players is 4.

Initially, the game designed by Magie could be played by only 2 – 4 players and not more than that.

Today, even 8 players can play the game. However, versions like Monopoly Empire can proceed only with 4 players. 

Who Owns Monopoly now?

Hasbro owns the Royalty of the Monopoly game now. In 1991, Hasbro acquired the company of Parker Brothers. Thus, all the commercially played Monopoly board game licenses automatically passed to Hasbro.

Hasbro is now solely responsible for the manufacture, supply, commercialization, and money printing for the Monopoly board game played across the globe. 

Conclusion

Let’s conclude the post on who invented Monopoly!

It is evident that the game monopoly was created by Ms. Magpie but Charles Darrow has a great contribution to creating this game too.

Also, since its creation Monopoly is evolving rapidly with different versions of the game.

I hope you liked reading this post and found it helpful.

Reference:

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/apr/11/secret-history-monopoly-capitalist-game-leftwing-origins
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/johngreathouse/2021/01/25/how-the-woman-behind-the-monopoly-game-lost-out-on-the-billions-it-generated/?sh=122a5a6231b7
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About the Author

Basana Saha has expertise working for more than 25 years as a beautician. She has expertise in choosing the right accessories and gears for your baby. Being a mom she knows the problems new moms face. She would like to help with Parenting to new moms with her expertise in raising a child.