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Top 10 Greatest Empires In History


The definition of an empire is: when a single entity has supreme rule and power over a vast area of territory, which consists of peoples of different ethnicity and nationality. This list is based on the influence, longevity and power of the various empires, and, as you will see, it contains at least one or two entries that may strike some as controversial. My one requirement for this list is that the empire must have been ruled – for at least a majority of the time – by an emperor or king. This excludes modern so-called empires such as the United States and Soviet Union. The entries here are listed roughly by influence and size.

 #10  Byzantine Empire             


The Byzantine Empire, or Eastern Roman Empire, was the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages, centered on the capital of Constantinople, and ruled by emperors in direct succession to the ancient Roman emperors. It was called the Roman Empire, and also Romania. During its existence, of over a thousand years, the Empire remained one of the most powerful economic, cultural and military forces in Europe, despite setbacks and territorial losses, especially during the Roman–Persian and Byzantine–Arab Wars. The Empire received a mortal blow in 1204 by the Fourth Crusade, when it was dissolved and divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. 

Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople and re-establishment of the Empire in 1261, under the Palaiologan emperors, successive civil wars in the fourteenth century further sapped the Empire’s strength.

 #9  The French Empire            


Eventually becoming the second-largest empire in history (second only to the British Empire), at its zenith the French Colonial Empire extended over 4.9 million square miles, and covered almost 1/10 of the Earth’s total land area.  Its influence made French one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world for a time, and brought French architecture, culture, and cuisine to the four corners of the globe. Alas, like all the great European empires, its collapse came about incrementally over a long period of time, as it lost territories to other emerging nations—especially to the British—and it suffered through two World Wars, which drained it financially. 

Though it continued to hold onto to some of its territories well into the 20th century (and still does to this day), by 1962, with the granting of independence to rebellious Algeria, the French Empire was basically no more, bringing a close to a long and cultured era in human history.

 # Persian Empire or Achaemenid Empire             


Babylonian, Akkadians, Assyrians, Sumerians, Hitites, Bactrians, Scythians, Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Egyptians, Ethiopians… Before the Romans, there were the Persians. They basically unified the whole of Central Asia which consisted of a lot of different cultures, kingdoms, empires and tribes. It was the largest empire in ancient history. At the height of its power, the empire encompassed approximately 8 million km2. The empire was forged by Cyrus the Great, and spanned three continents: Asia, Africa and Europe.

 # Han Dynasty          


During the Chinese period of warring states, the whole of China was embroiled in a civil war as the different kingdoms within it battled it out with each other in the quest for supremacy. In the end, the Qin State won, and gobbled up the whole of China, with 40 million people under it’s control. The Qin Dynasty didn’t last long, and soon it went to the Han, which eventually controlled China for close to 400 years. The period of the Han Dynasty is considered a golden age in Chinese history in terms of scientific achievement, technological advance, economic, cultural and political stability. Even to this day, most Chinese people refer to themselves as the Han people. Today, the “Han people” is considered the largest single ethnic group in the world.  
 

 #6  The Spanish Empire           


One of the first global empires, at its height it possessed territories and colonies in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania, making it one of the most important political and economic powers in the world for several hundred years.  Its establishment in the 15th century also ushered in the modern global era, and five centuries of European dominance of global affairs before competition from other European powers—particularly the French and British—weakened Spain to the point that, by the end of the 19th century, it was but a shadow of its former greatness. 

The end didn’t finally come until the 1970s, however, when it granted its last colonies in Africa and South America their independence, spelling finito to 600 years of Spanish colonialism.  Its chief contribution came in its discovery of the New World in 1492 and the spread of Christianity to the western world, both of which was to dramatically change the geo-political dynamics of the planet and lay the foundation for the modern western world.

 # Umayyad Caliphate              


The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four Islamic caliphates (systems of governance), established after the death of Mohammed. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the city of Mecca, Damascus was the capital of their Caliphate. Eventually, it would cover more than five million square miles, making it the largest empire the world had yet seen, and the fifth largest contiguous empire ever to exist. The Umayyads established the largest Arab-Muslim state in history. From the time of Mohammed until 1924, successive and contemporary caliphates were held by various dynasties – the last being the Ottoman Empire.

 #4  Mongol Empire             


It all started when Temujin (who was later known as Genghis Khan), vowed in his youth to bring the world to his feet. He almost did. His first act was unifying the scattered Mongolian tribes. Then he set his sight on China, and the rest is history. From Vietnam to Hungary, the Mongol Empire is the largest contiguous empire in the history of mankind. Unfortunately for them, their empire was too big to be controlled, and there was no unity among the different cultures. The Mongols were fearless and ruthless fighters, but had little experience in administration. The image of the mongols as a brutal and savage people is renowned through history.

 # Ottoman Empire             


At the height of its power (16th–17th century), the Ottoman Empire spanned three continents, controlling much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. It contained 29 provinces and numerous vassal states, some of which were later absorbed into the empire, while others were granted various types of autonomy during the course of centuries. The empire was at the center of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries. With Constantinople as its capital city, and vast control of lands around the eastern Mediterranean during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent (ruled 1520 to 1566), the Ottoman Empire was, in many respects, an Islamic successor to the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. 

 # British Empire                


At it’s greatest extent, the British empire was known as the largest empire in history, as it covered more than 13,000,000 square miles, which is approximately a quarter of the Earth’s total land area, and controlled more than 500 million people – again a quarter of the world’s population. As a result, the legacy it imprinted on these conquered lands is tremendous in terms of political reform, cultural exchanges and way of life. The English language, which it spread, is the second most-widely spoken language in the world today, and many linguistics agree that English is the defacto standard language of the world. The British empire is definitely one of the most influential empires ever to have existed in human history. 

 # Roman Empire            


At first they were ruled by divine kings, then they became a republic (perhaps their greatest period) before finally becoming an empire. How a group of farmers, who started off fending wolves to protect their livestock, eventually became the greatest empire in all history is the stuff of legends. Coupled with an excellent military and administrative system, the Roman Empire, or rather ancient Rome, is also one of the longest-lasting. Counting from its founding to the fall of the Byzantine empire, ancient Rome lasted for a whopping 2,214 years

Ancient Rome contributed greatly to the development of law, war, art, literature, architecture, technology, religion and language in the Western world. In fact many historians consider the Roman Empire to be a perfect empire – influential, fair, long-lasting, big, well defended and economically advanced. The influence of the Roman Empire is felt to this day, if for no other reason than the influence on the Catholic Church, which took much of its administrative nous and pageantry from it.

Source1: http://listverse.com/2010/06/22/top-10-greatest-empires-in-history
Source2: http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-most-important-empires-in-history.php
Source3: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_empires
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3 commentaires:

  1. Dear to whom it may concern,

    My name is Kelsey Heck and I am a research assistant for Professor Eric Zuelow at the University of New England. He is currently completing a book about the history of modern tourism that will be published by Palgrave next year and we are tracking down images to illustrate various elements of the text.

    I am writing to enquire about the Map of the British Empire image which I located on your website. Do you own the copyright or know who does? Also, do you have any way of finding pictures from the book itself? Any information will be helpful.

    Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.


    Sincerely,


    Kelsey Heck

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kelsey, the Map of the British Empire image is from this PDF (https://blog.itu.dk/DGST-F2013/files/2013/03/greensoc_week7_maps.pdf ). Hope it may help.

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  2. you forgot a small Russian Empire and a small Empire of Alexander the great ))

    ReplyDelete