The Monarch Who Fathered over 1000 Children

Jax Hudur
Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif of MoroccoWikimedia/Public Domain

According to the Guinness book of world records, Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif, Sultan of Morocco, has fathered 867 children. Among his children were 525 sons and 342 daughters. However, other sources claim that Ismail’s children far exceed that of Guinness, and estimates put the number of his children as over 1000.

While it’s baffling for one man to sire so many children, the sultan was married at least seven times. He had four official wives and 500 concubines, of which some were Europeans. An English woman called Lalla Balqis and a Spaniard woman named Al Darrah. The European women were among Ismail’s slave concubines, but despite that, they were his favorites.

Ismail was a brutal man who ruled Morocco with an iron fist. His style of rule was vicious and so ruthless that he was nicknamed “the bloodthirsty.” However, he was said to be overprotective of his wives and concubines, as whoever dared to glance at them was executed at once.

New computer simulations over how Sultan Ismail could sire so many children offer modern insights into the possibility of Ismail’s accomplishments as the only man in history to have fathered over a thousand children.

The simulations specify that the sultan had to have intercourse with his many wives and concubines once a day for 32 years. Ismail’s age further strengthens the possibility of the simulations as he was the longest-serving king of Morocco in history who, at the time of his death, was 82 years old, having ruled for 55 years.

As shocking as Ismail’s story is, today, thousands of Americans use fertility clinics across the country and spend money and tears hoping to become a parent. According to the CDC, 10% of heterosexual women aged 15–44 have infertility, while that of men stands at 9 %. Moneywise, 85% of IVF costs are paid out of pocket, where the treatments could range anywhere between $40,000 and $60,000.

While Sultan Ismail had no virility issues, he was a jealous man. Any of his wives or concubines suspected of adultery had a very swift end. At times, Ismail himself acted as the executioner.

Among the victims suspected of dying at his own hands is the Spaniard captive woman Al Darrah, one of his favored concubines at one time. She was killed after another concubine falsely accused her of betrayal.

Sultan Ismail vs Genghis Khan

In 2003, Chris Tyler- Smith, an evolutionary geneticist, discovered eight percent of the male populations of 16 different Asian ethnicities carried the same Y chromosome pattern. The scientists traced the pattern to a shared origin from 1000 years ago.

The geneticists believe that the common origin is Ghenghis Khan, the ruthless Mongol Emperor who historians believe had many wives and hundreds of concubines. If the scientist’s hypothesis is true, 0.5% of the world’s male population (about 16 million) trace their ancestry to the Mongol emperor.

However, while Ghengis Khan’s number of children is unknown, the sheer numbers of his progeny and Ismail’s record of siring so many offspring make the autocrats two of history’s most remarkable super fathers.

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I write about history, politics, and true crime. Not to mention anything else that takes my fancy or is newsworthy.


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