Taking over the world has to be the dream of at least half of all aspiring supervillians everywhere. However, some (questionably) more benevolent people attempt to do so the old fashioned way: exploration, colonization, subjugation, and occasionally (okay… rarely) even mutually-beneficial politics. Though nobody has publicly managed to take over yet (shadow societies don’t count), the age of empires was certainly not boring, and as recently as the late 1900’s, there has been some impressive progress. Let’s begin all the way back at 500 BC and work our way up. Here are the 25 Largest And Most Epic Empires In History.
Yuan Dynasty – Circa 1310 AD
From the northern Chinese territories already previously controlled by the Mongol Empire, Chingis Kahn’s grandson led his armies to conquer the remainder of China and unify it as the Yuan Dynasty. By 1310 AD, it had grown to be the largest fragment of the previous Mongol Empire, and the 9th largest empire in history with 4.25 million square miles of land under its control. Unfortunately, revolts in the mid-14th century led to a final overthrow of the Yuan in 1368, making it also the shortest-lived major dynasty in Chinese history.
Ming Dynasty – Circa 1450 AD
The Ming Dynasty was formed after the Yuan Dynasty fell. Though essentially unable to expand north due to a strong Mongol presence, the Ming Dynasty still occupied a respectable 4.36% of the world’s landmass and is the 13th largest empire in the history of the world. It is perhaps better known for building China’s first true navy, allowing it to launch naval expeditions and stimulate successful regional maritime trade.
The Ottoman Empire – Circa 1683 AD
Back when Istanbul was Constantinople, it was the capital of the Ottoman Empire (also called the Turkish Empire). Though relative to history, it was rather small (2.01 million square miles, making it the 22nd largest empire ever) but otherwise successful and long-lived. Beginning just before the year 1300 AD, The Ottoman Empire managed to carve itself a place between the eastern and western worlds for over six centuries. Not until it’s defeat in World War I by the allied powers was the empire dissolved, resulting in the current day Republic of Turkey by 1922 AD.
Qing Dynasty – Circa 1790 AD
As the final imperial dynasty of China, the Qing Dynasty got a lot of things right. This huge empire became the 4th largest empire in all of history and occupied nearly 10% of the entire world, including Korea and Taiwan, with a population of over 400 million people. It was nearly three centuries before local uprisings forced the last emperor ever to abdicate and the Republic of China was born in February of 1912.
The Spanish Empire – Circa 1810 AD
Not to be outdone by the last Chinese Dynasty, the Spanish Empire was formed in 1492 and became only the second global empire in world history. With 5.92 million square miles of the planet under their control, this empire was the 5th largest in all of history. As a result of their massive naval conquests, they controlled a huge percentage of both North and South America along with virtually all the Caribbean, parts of Africa, Europe, the South Pacific, and even various cities along the coastline of the Middle East.