An empire involves the extension of a state’s sovereignty over external territories. the greatness of an empire is based on the extent, population, economy, duration and many other factors such as type of rule and government, satisfaction by its people etc. The calculation of the land area of a particular empire is controversial. In general, the sequence in list centers on all the aspects that make an empire mighty, strong and progressive and all the factors as mentioned that make a kingdom great.
10. Akkadian Empire (2300 BC–2200 BC)
The Akkadian Empire (2334 BC to 2083 BC) was an empire centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region (in Ancient Iraq). The Akkadian state was the predecessor of the ethnic Akkadian states of Babylonia and Assyria; formed following centuries of Akkadian cultural synergy with others, it reached the height of its power between the 24th and 22nd centuries BC following the conquests of king Sargon of Akkad, and is sometimes regarded as the first manifestation of an empire in history.
- It was the first empire to manifest on the earth.
- It reached record breaking size of its time and is considered the largest empire of dark ancient era – 0.8 million km2 (2250 BC)
9. Achaemenid Empire (550 BC–330 BC)
The Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550–330 BC), also known as the Persian Empire , was the successor state of the Median Empire, ruling over significant portions of what would become Greater Iran. The Persian and the Median Empire taken together are also known as the Medo-Persian Empire , which encompassed the combined territories of several earlier empires. The empire was forged by Cyrus the Great, and spanned three continents: Asia, Africa and Europe. At its greatest extent, the empire included the territories of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, parts of Central Asia, Asia Minor, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Iraq, northern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and all significant population centers of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya. It is noted in western history as the foe of the Greek city states during the Greco-Persian Wars, for emancipation of slaves including the Jews from their Babylonian captivity, and for instituting the usage of official languages throughout its territories. The Achaemenid Persian empire was invaded by Alexander III of Macedon, after which it collapsed and disintegrated in 330 BC into what later became the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Seleucid Empire, in addition to other minor territories which gained independence after its collapse.
- It was the largest empire in ancient history. At the height of its power, the empire encompassed approximately 8 million km2
- In universal history the role of the Persian empire founded by Cyrus the Great lies in their very successful model for centralized administration and a government working to the advantage and profit of all.
8. Roman Empire ( 27 BC–AD 476/1453)
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican phase of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean. The Roman Republic, which preceded it, had been weakened and subverted through several civil wars.Several events are commonly proposed to mark the transition from Republic to Empire, including Julius Caesar’s appointment as perpetual dictator (44 BC), the Battle of Actium (2 September 31 BC), and the Roman Senate’s granting to Octavian the honorific Augustus (4 January 27 BC). Roman expansion began in the days of the Republic, but reached its zenith under Emperor Trajan. At this territorial peak, the Roman Empire controlled approximately 6.5 million km² of land surface. Because of the Empire’s vast extent and long endurance, Roman influence upon the language, religion, architecture, philosophy, law, and government of nations around the world lasts to this day.
- The powers of an emperor existed, in theory at least, by virtue of his “tribunician powers” and his “proconsular powers” In theory, the tribunician powers made the emperor’s person and office sacrosanct, and gave the emperor authority over Rome’s civil government, including the power to preside over and to control the Senate. The proconsular powers gave him authority over the Roman army.
- Roman Empire achieved great territorial gains in both the East and the West. It had one of the strongest armies recorded.
- The enduring Roman influence is reflected pervasively in contemporary language, literature, legal codes, government, architecture, engineering, medicine, sports, arts, etc. Much of it is so deeply inbedded that we barely notice our debt to ancient Rome. Consider language, for example. Fewer and fewer people today claim to know Latin — and yet, go back to the first sentence in this paragraph. If we removed all the words drawn directly from Latin, that sentence would read; “The.”
7. Umayyad Caliphate (661–750)
A caliphate is the Islamic form of government representing the political unity and leadership of the Muslim world. The Caliph’s position is based on the notion of a successor to Muhammad’s political authority. According to Sunnis, a Caliph can be any pious Muslim who is elected by the Muslims or their representatives; and according to Shia Islam, an Imam descended in a line from the Ahl al-Bayt.
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four Islamic caliphates established after the death of Muhammad (PBUH). 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. The Umayyads established the largest Arab-Muslim state in history. From the time of prophet Muhammad until 1924, successive and contemporary caliphates were held by various dynasties, including the Rashidun Caliphate of the first four caliphs after Muhammad, the Umayyads based in Damascus and Córdoba, the Abbasids based in Baghdad & later in Cairo, the Fatimids based in Cairo, and finally the Turkish Ottoman Empire based in Istanbul.
- Ummayads had the best administration system the world had yet seen. To assist the Caliph in administration there were six Boards at the Centre: Diwan al-Kharaj (the Board of Revenue), Diwan al-Rasa’il (the Board of Correspondence), Diwan al-Khatam (the Board of Signet), Diwan al-Barid (the Board of Posts), Diwan al-Qudat (Board of Justice) and Diwan al-Jund (the Military Board).
- Fifth largest contiguous empire to ever exist.
- Modern Arab nationalism regards the period of the Umayyads as part of the Arab Golden Age.
6. Qing Dynasty (1890–1912)
The Qing Dynasty was the last ruling dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 (with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917). It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China. The dynasty was founded by the Manchu clan Aisin Gioro in what is today northeast China, (also known as Manchuria). Starting in 1644 it expanded into China proper and its surrounding territories, establishing the Empire of the Great Qing. Complete pacification of China was accomplished around 1683.The Qing Dynasty was overthrown following the Xinhai Revolution, when the Empress Dowager Longyu abdicated on behalf of the last emperor, Puyi, on February 12, 1912.
- During its reign the Qing Dynasty became highly integrated with Chinese culture.
- The dynasty reached its height in the 18th century, during which both territory and population were increased.
- It covered an immense area of 14.7 million km2 (1790) making it the 5th largest according to land mass.
- It had the 4th largest %age of world’s GDP i.e 32.9% ($228.6 billion out of $694.4 billion in 1820)
5. Russian Empire (1721–1917)
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia, and the predecessor of the Soviet Union. At one point in 1866, it stretched from eastern Europe, across Asia, and into North America. At the beginning of the 19th century, Russia was the largest country in the world, extending from the Arctic Ocean to the north to the Black Sea on the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean on the east.
- It was the second largest contiguous empire the world has ever seen, surpassed only by the Mongol Empire, and the third largest empire the world has ever seen, surpassed only by the British Empire and the Mongol Empire .
- The household servants or dependents attached to the personal service were merely set free, while the landed peasants received their houses and orchards, and allotments of arable land.
4. Mongol Empire (1206–1368)
The Mongol Empire was an empire from the 13th and 14th century spanning from Eastern Europe across Asia. It emerged from the unification of Mongol and Turkic tribes in modern day Mongolia, and grew through invasions, after Genghis Khan had been proclaimed ruler of all Mongols in 1206. At its greatest extent it stretched from the Danube to the Sea of Japan (or East Sea) and from the Arctic to Camboja, covering over 24,000,000 km2 , 22% of the Earth’s total land area, and held sway over a population of over 100 million people. It is often identified as the ” Mongol World Empire ” because it spanned much of Eurasia. However, the empire began to split following the succession war in 1260–1264. By 1294, he Mongol Empire had already fractured into four separate empires, each pursuing its own separate interests and objectives.
- It is the largest contiguous empire in the history of the world, and the second largest empire in history, after the British Empire.
- Under the Mongols new technologies, various commodities and ideologies were disseminated and exchanged across Eurasia.
3. Mughal Empire (1526–1858)
The Mughal Empire was an Islamic imperial power that ruled a large portion of Indian subcontinent which began in 1526, invaded and ruled most of South Asia by the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and ended in the mid-19th century.The Mughal Emperors were descendants of the Timurids of Turkistan, and at the height of their power around 1700, they controlled most of the Indian Subcontinent—extending from Bengal in the east to Balochistan in the west, Kashmir in the north to the Kaveri basin in the south. Its population at that time has been estimated as between 110 and 130 million, over a territory of over 4 million sq. km (1.5 million sq. mi.).The “classic period” of the Empire started in 1556 with the accession of Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar, better known as Akbar the Great. It ended with the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707, although the Empire continued for another 150 years.
- The Empire was marked by a highly centralized administration connecting the different regions.
- All the significant monuments of the Mughals, their most visible legacy, date to this period which was characterised by the expansion of Persian cultural influence in the Indian subcontinent, with brilliant literary, artistic and architectural results. A major Mughal contribution to the Indian Subcontinent was their unique architecture. Many monuments were built by the Muslim emperors, especially Shahjahan, during the Mughal era including the UNESCO World Heritage Site Taj Mahal, which is known to be one of the finer examples of Mughal architecture.
- The Indian economy remained as prosperous under the Mughals as it was, because of the creation of a road system and a uniform currency, together with the unification of the country. Manufactured goods and peasant-grown cash crops were sold throughout the world.
- n the Mughal Empire, the 16th and 17th centuries saw a synthesis of Muslim scientists who are the pioneers of modern science.
- It remained strong for longest duration above other empires and 4th largest population as compared to all other kingdoms – 175.0 million in 1700.
2. British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom, that had originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1922, the British Empire held sway over a population of about 458 million people, one-quarter of the world’s population at the time, and covered more than 13,000,000 square miles (33,670,000 km2): approximately a quarter of the Earth’s total land area. As a result, its political, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, it was often said that “the sun never sets on the British Empire” because its span across the globe ensured that the sun was always shining on at least one of its numerous territories.
- It was the largest empire by landmass covering 33.7 million km2 (1922)
- It was the largest empire by population.
- It had the second largest GDP size of $683.3 billion (in 1938) after the US in 1945
- It had the largest percent of world GDP 35.9% ($399 billionout of $1,111 billion in 1870)
- It had the largest military of all times.
- During the rule, people were quite unsatisfactory with the government and many disputes arose therefore the empire was soon brought done like house of cards as soon as it emerged, therefore although being largest, it is on second number.
1. Ottoman Empire (1299–1923)
The Ottoman Empire also known by its contemporaries as the Turkish Empire. was an Islamic empire that lasted from 1299 to November 1, July 24, 1923 It was succeeded by the Republic of Turkey,which was officially proclaimed on October 29, 1923. At the height of its power (16th–17th centuries), the empire spanned three continents, controlling much of Western Asia, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and North Africa. The Ottoman Empire contained 29 provinces and numerous vassal states, some of which were later absorbed into the empire, while others gained various types of autonomy during the course of centuries.
- It existed at the globe for the longest period of time for 7 centuries.
- The Ottoman legal system accepted the religious law over its subjects. The Ottoman Empire was always organized around a system of local jurisprudence.
- The Ottoman Empire was, in principle, tolerant towards Christians and Jews.
- Numerous traditions and cultural traits of this previous empire (in fields such as architecture, cuisine, music, leisure and government) were adopted by the Ottomans, who elaborated them into new forms and blended them with the characteristics of the ethnic and religious groups living within the Ottoman territories, which resulted in a new and distinctively Ottoman cultural identity.
- By developing commercial centres and routes, encouraging people to extend the area of cultivated land in the country and international trade through its dominions, the state performed basic economic functions in the Empire.
- The empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for seven centuries.
Info Courtesy: Wikipedia