In this article we are going to present you the history of polygamy. By studying the history of polygamy you are going to better understand how everything works and what are the motivations in the past that have made this practice accepted.
The polygamy comes mainly in three different forms: polygyny (where a man has more than two wives at the same time), polyandry (where a woman has more than one husband) and there are also the plural marriages (where a family is made out of multiple husbands and wives at the same time).
The history of polygamy dates back to a long time ago, since this has been practiced for many centuries by cultures from all over the world. The Hebrew society has partially accepted polygamy and there are traces that say that it happened in the classical China too. The polygamy was also encountered sporadically at the Native Americans, in the West African continent, Polynesia, India and the ancient Greece.
The polygamy was widely accepted throughout the world until the Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church has imposed the rules of having just one wife, but multiple other lovers were the norm.
The polygamy was widely accepted during the last two thousands of years in the Sub-Saharan Africa also.
However in the Hebrew Bible, the polygamy was permitted only if a man has more than one wife, at the same time if a woman had more than one husband, it was seen as adultery.
In the United States the polygamy was allowed back at the early years of the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which was also known as LDS Church). However all this ended back in the year 1890 when Wilford Woodruff was the president. But officially it was the year 1899 when the members of this church began to be thrown out for being polygamous. This way there were a few different and new sects that separated from the LDS Church that continue to practice the polygamy even if the polygynous marriages have started to be an illegal practice in the United States.
The historical China has an even more interesting story to tell. Back in those days a child was considered to have more than one mother and he could have up to 4 monthers. The first wife was considered to be the official mother (in spoken language it was called “big monther”) while the others were the unofficial mothers (in spoken language they were called “little mother” or “aunt”).
This way the polygamous marriages were generally made out of one main wife, which was called the “queen wife” that has a higher status compared to the other wives and at the same time it also has a higher authority among the other wives.