The Current

The secret history of Monopoly

It's the family-friendly board game that celebrates getting ahead and making cash money. But as it turns out, the game as it's played today would have likely mortified its original creator, who was a left-wing, feminist activist. We peer under the thimble for the true origins of Monopoly.
More than 275 million Monopoly boards have been sold since the game officially arrived on the scene some 80 years ago, at the height of the Great Depression. But earlier versions pre-dated the game as we know it today. (Hasbro Canada)

It's the family-friendly board game that celebrates getting ahead and making cash money. But as it turns out, the game as it's played today would have likely mortified its original creator, who was a left-wing, feminist activist. We peer under the thimble for the true origins of Monopoly.

Word has it that the United Kingdom's Prince Andrew has banished Monopoly from the royal palace because games there can also get quite vicious. And, given that this is a day off for school kids in many parts of the country, your own living room may be the scene of some heated Monopoly play today.

It's all a testament to the enormous, global popularity that the board game has achieved since it's official arrival on the scene some eighty years ago at the height of the Great Depression.

More than 275 million Monopoly boards have now been sold. And not surprisingly for a game that seems to celebrate capitalism, there is a story of big money behind it. But also another story of its rather curious pedigree...

Mary Pilon is the author of The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game

We contacted Hasbro, the parent company of Parker Brothers. The company sent us its history of Monopoly.

What are your thoughts?

Tweet us @thecurrentcbc. Or e-mail us through our website. Find us on Facebook. Call us toll-free at 1 877 287 7366. And as always if you missed anything on The Current, grab a podcast.

This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.

now