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Polygamy around the world

Polygamy is a practice where one person is married to multiple partners simultaneously. This practice varies in legality and acceptance across different countries. Polygyny, where a man has multiple wives, is legal in 58 out of nearly 200 sovereign states. The majority of these countries are Muslim-majority nations. Some countries that permit polygyny have restrictions, such as requiring the first wife’s consent.

Countries that recognize polygamous marriages

In African countries like Algeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Egypt, polygamy is legal. In Central Africa, countries like the Republic of the Congo and Djibouti also recognize polygamous marriages. Countries in Asia such as Afghanistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia also allow polygamy.

Countries that only recognize polygamous marriages for Muslims

Countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, and Lebanon have specific legislation that allows polygamous marriages only for Muslims in exceptional cases.

Countries that only recognize polygamous marriages under customary law

In countries like Botswana, Lesotho, and Nigeria, polygamous marriages are recognized under customary law.

Countries that do not recognize polygamous marriages

Polygamy is more common in Africa than in any other continent. In countries like Angola, Benin, and Burkina Faso, polygamy is practiced despite not being legally recognized.

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