Born at Glengyle in 1786, Gregor MacGregor went on to become the world’s greatest conman when he sold an entire country that never even existed. MacGregor created a fictional land called Poyais and told people that it was located near the Black River, in modern-day Honduras. He also told people that he was the “Cazique” or Prince of this land. He told people that the land measured 8 million acres, which is greater than the size of Wales. MacGregor then marketed the land saying that it was abundant in natural resources and needs to be developed. He launched an elaborate publicity campaign for his fictional land and told people that the land’s development would require both money and manpower.
Many people fell for his elaborate con and ended up investing in the bonds of a non-existent government. Some even had finalized plans to immigrate to the fictional country. MacGregor’s fraud worked because he had offered a high rate of return at 6% on £200,000 Poyais bonds. MacGregor also made money by selling land to people who wanted to relocate to a new country that came with the promise of abundance.