Monopoly is one of the world's best-selling board games. It's available in 43 different languages in 111 countries, and more than 275 million copies have been sold worldwide (according to manufacturer Hasbro) since 1935. That's when Charles Darrow, a salesman from Philadelphia, sold the rights to the game to Parker Brothers in return for royalties.
Parker Brothers had at first rejected the game for being too long, only changing their mind after Darrow successfully sold it himself to local stores.
Yet, despite Darrow's claim to have invented it, most historians now agree that Monopoly borrows heavily from The Landlord's Game, invented by Elizabeth Magie Phillips in 1902.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
The game was developed to support the theories of the economist Henry George, who advocated a land value taxto reduce inequality.Darrow also knew of another "Monopoly", very similar to today's version, which had been played by Quakers in Atlantic City since the 1920s.
Ironically, given the game's origins, Parker Brothers (bought by Hasbro in 1991) acted aggressively over the years to stop similar games emerging, even trademarking the suffix opoly'.
It launched several lawsuits against rivals, most controversially in 1973 against Anti-Monopoly, a game invented by Professor Ralph Anspach of Berkley University as a direct response to the original, to show the damage done to free markets by monopolies.
After a long battle, the US Supreme Court in 1983 effectively voided Monopoly's trademark on the grounds that the phrase had become generic. But protests from manufacturers fearing the precedent this set led to laws reversing the ruling.
Equity release rates drop – is it worth unlocking cash from your home?
News Lifetime mortgage rates are falling from their record highs - is equity release worth another look?
By Marc Shoffman Published
Hargreaves Lansdown launches fixed-term cash ISA product
savings/hargreaves-lansdown-fixed-cash-isa-launch Investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown is to offer fixed term cash ISAs via its Active Savings platform paying 4.8%, tax free - but is it any good?
By Kalpana Fitzpatrick Published