25 Largest Empires In History

Posted by on August 12, 2014

Conquering nations and relentlessly expanding their territories has always been a favorite past time of those in power. Whether it was the Romans, Greeks, or Ottomans, it seems that amassing resources, nations, and the pursuit of a powerful legacy played a huge role in the rise and fall of their empires. Although today we no longer see borders shifting back and forth so rapidly, the art of imperialism is still alive and well. Here are the 25 largest empires in history.


Portuguese Empire

Also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire, was the first global empire in history which spanned almost six centuries from 1415 when Ceuta was captured, until Macau’s handover in 1999 to the grant of sovereignty to East Timor in 2002. All the territories that was once part of this overseas empire now is a part of 53 different sovereign states. Advancements in navigation, cartography and maritime technology allowed sailors to rediscover routes and places in surrounding territories and as extensive as circumnavigating the globe.


Abbasid Caliphate

The Abbasid Caliphate was the successor of the Umayyad caliphate which was founded in Kufa in 750 CE and later established Baghdad as their capital in 762.Also known as the Islamic Golden Age, this period valued the intellectual capacity of their citizens and aims to maximize it to its full potential. This caliphate then became the intellectual center for the sciences, philosophy and education.


French Colonial Empire

Extending over 12 million square kilometers, these set of territories were under French rule from the 17th century to the late 1960′s. During the 19th to 20th century, it was the second largest in the world next to the British Empire. France’s conquest reached Africa and Southeast Asia with the idea that the higher races have the right to civilize the lower races.


Yuan Dynasty

Kublai Khan, the famous ruler in the 11th century officially proclaimed the dynasty. Considered the successor of both the Mongol Empire and an imperial dynasty, the period bore the Mandate of Heaven. Also called the Empire of the Great Khan , Kublai Khan claimed the title of Great Khan as someone higher than the other successor khanates.


Qing Dynasty

The Jurchen Aisin Gioro Clan in Northeastern China founded the Qing dynasty which was the last imperial dynasty in Chinese history. Even if it was a Manchu led dynasty, their culture became highly integrated into the Chinese culture. Typical government policies were followed alongside the ones brought in by the founder of the dynasty. Due to rebellions, natural catastrophes and getting defeated in wars against the western kingdoms


Umayyad Caliphate

The second of the four Islamic caliphates, it covered more than 5 million square miles making it the largest Arab-Muslim state in history. It employed the best administration system the world has yet to be seen and the fifth largest contiguous empire to exist.This period is also known as the Arab Golden Age. Originally from the city of Mecca, Damascus became its capital.


Spanish Empire

This empire was made of colonies and territories in Oceania, Asia, Africa, the Americas as well as Europe. It finds its origin in the Age of Exploration and was among the initial global empires. Spain’s peak of economic as well as political power was reached during this era.


Russian Empire

After the Tsardom of Russia, this empire is the second largest contiguous in the world stretching towars Eastern Europe, across Asia and North America. It existed between 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. According to the 1897 census, there are 125.6 million subjects.


Mongol Empire

The Mongol World Empire was established in modern day Mongolia which was established by Genhis Khan and was declared as the ruler of all Mongols.It’s emergence from the unification of the Mongol and Turkic tribes in modern day Mongolia. Because of the advancements, new technologies and various commodities were disseminated.


British Empire

The British empire was the largest empire by landmass that covered 33.7 million km2. Because of its massive size, it is said that the sun never sets on the British Empire because it spans across the globe ensuring the the sun was always shining on at least on every territory abroad. Everywhere which belongs to the crown, its political, linguistic, and cultural legacy stretches far and wide.