The days when wars raged across all lands for expansion purposes and to seize power are long gone, but those who partook in these battles have written history. On this list, we’ll be reviewing The 10 Greatest Empires in the History of the World, basing our choices on an average of their sizes, power, influence, and historical significance.
#10 Umayyad Caliphate
Long story short, caliphates were Islamic regions led by a steward who is believed to be a direct descendant of Mohammed. The Umayyad Caliphate was one of the four established after the death of the prophet and it managed to accomplish quite a lot of objectives, including the settlement of the largest Arab-Muslim state in history. Today, the Umayyad Caliphate is the fifth largest contiguous empire ever.
#9 Persian Empire
When we think of the Persian Empire, we think of the greatest empire of ancient history. Spanning over three continents – Europe, Asia, and Africa, Cyrus the Great managed to forge a state that would unify Central Asia by combining numerous civilizations, states, and tribes. Among some of its most noteworthy, we mention the Babylonians, the Akkadians, the Sumerians, the Assyrians, and the Egyptians.
#8 Portuguese Empire
The first empire that spread internationally, the Portuguese managed to outlive any other European colonial states. The first foundation was laid in 1415 when Portugal seized Ceuta and incorporated it in its territory. Afterward, the expansion continued and included what would soon become one of its biggest colonies – Brazil. The empire fell in 1999 when Macau was officially returned to China.
#7 Spanish Empire
There is a reason why Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world. It all pretty much has to do with the spreading and dominance of the Spanish Empire. Its colonial days started around the time Christopher Columbus lived and continued until the 20th century, in the case of some states in Africa. At its peak, the Spanish Empire represented 12% of the Earth’s population and its territory occupied 13% of the entire surface of the globe.
#6 Byzantine Empire
Also known as the Eastern Roman Empire, it was ruled by emperors in direct succession to the old leaders of the fallen Roman Empire. Despite the constant conflicts and warfare that they were forced to face, the Byzantines represented one of the top notch forces of the Middle Ages. Its decisive blow was received during the Fourth Crusade, which led to its dissolution. Although Constantinople was later retrieved, the Byzantine Empire was never able to wholly put itself back together.
#5 Han Dynasty
After years of battles raged among Chinese states for supremacy, the power eventually went to the Qin Dynasty. Its reign didn’t last long, though, and the population of 40 million people was then taken under the wing of the Han Dynasty, which sat in front of the country for four centuries. The period of the Han Dynasty is widely considered to have been a golden age for China in terms of technological, economical, and social advances.
#4 Russian Empire
Spanning between 1721 and 1917, the Russian Empire was the direct successor of the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union. It’s the second largest contiguous empire in history and the third largest overall, having, at some point, spanned across several continents, including Asia, Europe, and North America.
#3 Mongol Empire
The Mongols were notorious for their capacity to extend their empire and conquer lands from all over the land through their impressive brute strength and force. It all started with Genghis Khan, who managed to unify the Mongolian tribes with the goal to make the world kneel before him set in mind. Starting with China, the Mongol Empire spread like wildfire all the way to the borders of Hungary, but it eventually collapsed due to its lack of administration.
#2 British Empire
It’s very difficult to deny the influence of the British Empire when the signs are still very strong. During its peak moments, it covered over 13 million kilometers square of land which represented a quarter of the Earth’s surface at the time. Likewise, it fostered a population of over 500 million people. As further evidence, English is now the most spoken language in the world. All of these factors make the British Empire one of the greatest empires in history.
#1 Roman Empire
An empire known by all and any, Ancient Rome was a definite staple for further civilizations to come. Starting as nothing but a group of farmers who wished nothing but to fend off wolves away from their crops, the Romans ended up making history with the influence they had on art, architecture, religion, language, and many others. The Roman Empire lasted a grand total of 2,214 years and it’s deemed by many historians as the perfect empire thanks to its strength, administration, military prowess, and influence.