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Who fathered the most children in history?

When it comes to the topic of fathering the most children in history, one name stands out – Moroccan Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif. This remarkable individual, who reigned from 1645 to 1727, holds the Guinness World Record for fathering more than 1,000 children. In this blog post, we will delve into the life of Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif, explore the factors that contributed to his prolific fatherhood, and examine the controversies and challenges he faced. We will also compare his record to other historical figures and discuss the significance of his achievement in shaping Moroccan history.

Background on Moroccan Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif

Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif was born in 1634 into the Saadian dynasty, which ruled over Morocco at the time. He ascended to the throne in 1645 and began a reign marked by power, wealth, and military conquests. As a sultan, he held supreme authority and had control over a large territory in North Africa.

During his time, Morocco was a prominent player in the region, engaging in trade and forming alliances with other nations. Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif was known for his military exploits and successful campaigns against rival factions, which further solidified his power and influence.

Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif’s Journey to Fathering the Most Children

One of the key factors that contributed to Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif’s record-breaking number of children was his polygamous lifestyle. As a Muslim ruler, he was allowed to have multiple wives and concubines, and he took full advantage of this practice.

Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif had an extensive harem consisting of hundreds of women, with whom he fathered children. These women came from diverse backgrounds, including noble families as well as acquired through war or political alliances. The sultan’s polygamy not only ensured the continuation of his lineage but also served as a demonstration of his power and virility.

Furthermore, the cultural and social context of the time contributed to the high number of children Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif fathered. In Moroccan society, having multiple wives and concubines was not uncommon among the elite. It was seen as a symbol of wealth, power, and virility.

Controversies and Challenges Faced by Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif

Despite his record-breaking achievement, Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif faced various controversies and challenges. His polygamous lifestyle drew criticism from within and outside the region. Some argued that his excessive focus on expanding his harem and fathering children detracted from his duties as a ruler and neglected important aspects of governance.

Maintaining such a large family also posed practical challenges. Providing for the numerous offspring and ensuring their well-being would have required substantial resources and logistical management. While the exact details of how Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif managed his vast family are not fully documented, it is reasonable to assume that it must have been a complex undertaking.

Additionally, the impact of such a large royal family on Moroccan society and the question of dynastic succession also came into play. Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif had numerous sons, and choosing a successor among them was not a straightforward task. The competition and power struggles among the potential heirs could have created tensions and potential destabilization within the kingdom.

Comparison to Other Historical Figures

Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif’s record of fathering more than 1,000 children is unparalleled in history. However, there are other individuals who have also had a large number of offspring.

For example, Feodor Vassilyev, a peasant from Russia, is said to have fathered 69 children. While this number is significantly lower than Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif’s, it is still an astounding feat given the time period and circumstances in which Feodor Vassilyev lived.

It’s worth noting that determining the exact number of children an individual has had throughout history can be challenging, as historical documentation may be incomplete or unreliable. Nevertheless, the record set by Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif remains extraordinary.

Guinness World Records Recognition

Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif’s record of fathering the most children in history is officially recognized by Guinness World Records. The organization has a strict verification process for record-breaking claims, requiring substantial evidence and documentation.

In the case of Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif, historical records and accounts from his time provide strong evidence for his extraordinary fatherhood. The number of wives, his reign’s duration, and the cultural context all support the credibility of his record. Guinness World Records has thus recognized his achievement, solidifying his place in history.

Legacy and Historical Significance

The legacy of Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif and his record-breaking fatherhood continues to fascinate historians and researchers. His achievement has had a lasting impact on Moroccan history and the royal lineage.

By fathering such a large number of children, Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif ensured the continuation of his lineage and established a powerful dynasty. Many of his sons went on to become rulers in their own right, further expanding the family’s influence in the region.

Beyond the dynastic implications, Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif’s record raises broader questions about the role of polygamy, power dynamics, and societal attitudes towards fatherhood in historical contexts.


Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif, the Moroccan Sultan who fathered more than 1,000 children, holds the remarkable record for the most children in history. His polygamous lifestyle and the cultural context of his time were key factors contributing to his achievement. While controversies and challenges accompanied such a large family, Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif’s record remains a testament to his power, influence, and lasting impact on Moroccan history and the royal lineage. His place in the Guinness World Records solidifies his position as an extraordinary figure in fatherhood history.


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