Talk:The empire on which the sun never sets

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I realise it's important to include many references in an encyclopedia. However, on the basis that an equal-length background for the other (arguably more important) references is absent, I think the horribly inaccurate quotation (no wonder they're so confused) ought to be trimmed to more moderate proportions. Wiki-Ed 12:57, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

Yeh, it was me who fiound that quotation, but I'm not attached to it. You are welcome to delete the first two sentences, or replace it completely if you know a better quote. Though as you say, balancing it with more would be better than replacing it. --Doric Loon 18:36, 3 August 2005 (UTC)
Hmmm. To be honest it's just something that irritates me and make me feel like petulantly editing it eg: (I can't edit the first section... it has too many historical errors to make any sense).

Amusing variants[edit]

These have been removed from the article, presumably because they seemed trivial. The first one is just fun, but the second was intended to have political comment, so perhaps I should save them here for anyone interested.

  • From a student's exam paper: "The sun never sets on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the east and the sun sets in the west."
  • A remark by Princeton professor Duncan Spaeth: "I know why the sun never sets on the British Empire: God wouldn't trust an Englishman in the dark."

--Doric Loon 10:32, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

    • The second one should be restored to the article. Unlike the first one (which is merely a stunningly dumb statement, with zero value beyond entertainment), the second one is a common and well known rejoinder and quick criticism of British foreign policy. For the same reasons that articles about humans must include relevant criticism of that human, articles about phrases should include criticisms of that phrase. --M@rēino 20:22, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

OK, no real objection there. What does concern me, though, is that we have two different ascriptions: your source relates it to Colvin R. de Silva, but the other source (which was also taken off the internet) relates it to a much older American source. Unless this can be clarified, possibly the name needs to be suppressed; it is possible that Colvin R. de Silva just reused a smart phrase coined by someone earlier; possibly Duncan Spaeth did too. What I don't quite understand is why you deleted a sentence in order to add this new one. You have left the impression that this phrase was a response to Shaftsbury. Perhaps it ought to be further down. --Doric Loon 11:50, 26 October 2006 (UTC)


Hold on: looking at the last comment in the edit summary about what sounds best in Spanish leaves me worried. Did you folks just translate that phrase into Spanish? That is not legitimate. You have to quote the actual form used historically, or else not give Spanish at all! --Doric Loon 12:19, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

American empire[edit]

I suppose Doric Loon is right that my paragraphy on how the sun sets on America is irrelevant to the article. By that same argument, the preceding paragraph would also be considered irrelevant. The article is of the phrase, not of empires. Besides not being properly referenced, the remarks are also rather redundant. In the current global economy, plenty of countries can claim that the sun never sets on "properties owned by their government or citizens" or their military bases. The USA retains little jurisdiction over these areas and they can hardly be considered part of an American empire. If it is a cultural empire we are talking about, then the use of this geographical phrase is completely irrelevant. It is best we keep this article relevant to the historical usage of the phrase, perhaps with interesting information on countries on whose sovereign territory the sun does not set. Kraikk 12:33, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I would tend to agree. Empires are about sovereign territory (at least that's what various empire pages on Wikipedia describe) and not "empires of the mind". However, the problem is that the article that has been quoted is trying to make use of the phrase in a different way and that's why it has been included. Wiki-Ed 13:34, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I do think we want to avoid any evaluation of the American presence around the world - there are other articles, like American Empire which can discuss that. As far as this article is concerned, the focus should really be on Spain and Britain, but with a pointer to the fact that this politically potent language has been taken into American usage too. Plenty of other countries MIGHT be able to claim it, but all that is relevant for this article is who has actually done so. And not whether they were right, or in what sense. I realise that is defining the scope of the article very narrowly, but I suspect if you follow those related topics further you will just be duplicating what other articles do better. (If we WERE to pursue this, my own opinion would be that American is not an empire, but its role in the world has a lot more similarities to that of the former British Empire than most Americans would feel comfortable with. But you see my point - that's controversial stuff, not material we can touch on briefly, and there is an article already which gives a carefully balanced account of all of this.) --Doric Loon 21:44, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Precisely. I suggest removing the entire paragraph on the America. Whether it is an empire is thoroughly discussed elsewhere. Its relevance to "the sun does not set" is confined to one minor reference with a lot of caveats in a casual history that is neither impressive nor relevant. Leave American hegemony to that article, and we should confine this article to historically notable references to this phrase. Kraikk 15:30 18 March 2007 (UTC)

I've reverted your change, because I don't think it can stand just like that, but that doesn't mean I am entirely against it. I do think the transference of politically loaded language is highly significant, so I wouldn't want to leave America out of it; after all, it belongs in the context of other transfers (pax Americana etc). The transference of the language is independent of the question of whether America is imperialist (many who talk about pax Americana do so without an empire concept in mind), so I would resist raising that at all. I would be happy to see the American paragraph shortened, but if we take the quote out of the text, it needs to become a reference. If you REALLY want to make the blindingly obvious comment that the quote can only apply to American sphere of influence and not to American sovereign territory then OK, but I think that is almost insulting the readers' intelligence. --Doric Loon 16:43, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

However I accept your criticism that this whole thing is based on one quote of questionable importance. Can we agree, though, that if we can find significant other examples, then the American connection should stay? For starters I would point to the book by Joseph Gerson, The Sun Never Sets: Confronting the Network of Foreign U.S. Military Bases, and any number of reviews and discussions of it which can be found easily by googling. I have also read the phrase in literature hostile to America (Arab journalism) or critical of American policies (liberal American journalism) and I think I remember having heard it used proudly by a militaristic right-wing American speaker, but we will have to do some work to get verifiable quotes. But meanwhile, Grearson and the Reader's Companion can stand as examples of use by people whose views on American power are negatively and positive respectively; that's enough to establish that both sides are using this. --Doric Loon 17:08, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Here's a reference to an American company, a publishing house, "upon whose world-wide offices the sun never sets". And here's another - Dow chemicals. And here's a discussion of political writings from way back in the 1890s which "boasted" that "the sun never sets on Uncle Sam". --Doric Loon 17:22, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Here's what might be thought of as a transitional usage refering to both UK and US, from 1852! "To Britain and America God has granted the possession of the new world; and because the sun never sets upon our religion, our language and our arts..." --Doric Loon 17:29, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

As I said, although perhaps not as clearly as I could have done, it should stay. However much the use of the phrase may offend various sensibilities, it should be noted (here in this article) that it is used in this way. I think the references Doric Loon has come up with are sufficient support for this. Wiki-Ed 11:01, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Given the wealth of references you have provided perhaps now the reference to the Reader's Companion within the article becomes rather limited and less useful. My suggestion now is that these references be summarised to show that there is notable usage of the phrase. Reading the paragraph again, it may appear that the Reader's Companion is the main or only proponent of such usage. I suggest moving the references including that to the Reader's Companion to the bibliography and keeping the article more general. If there is no objection I will give it a shot when I find the time. Kraikk 14:12, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Go for it! --Doric Loon 18:35, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

OK, I've tried to work the cites in. I think this dynamic flexibility of usage is fascinating, and the contemporary use is particularly important, so we do want to cover this. Several people have tried to delete this section, either because it wasn't well enough referenced or because they didn't like the idea politically. The first problem is now removed, and I will assume future deletions are the second, and will simply revert them. But the section can certainly be improved, so please fiddle with it. --Doric Loon 16:52, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Sorry but I find this following passage highly debatable: "One recent textbook expanded: "Today ... the sun never sets on American territory, properties owned by the U.S. government and its citizens, American armed forces abroad, or countries that conduct their affairs within limits largely defined by American power". By this logic my own extended family is an empire on which the sun never sets, merely by living or owning property in a few strategically placed countries. It also gives a far too wide a definition of the meaning of the phrase. For example where would we draw the line: Norway for instance, by virtue of its territories in both the northern and southern polar regions, always has some daylight somewhere. China because of its extremely wide-spread diaspora of immigrants (and therefore culture) could possibly fit into that vague textbook definition cited above. I think that the phrase "the Empire on which the Sun never sets" should really be restricted to its historical context (from what I gather Spanish and British empires) and not so much on either its literal or far-fetched interpretations. Jarby 13:13, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

No, this article is about the phrase and the way it has been used in political and other discourse as a way of expressing aspects of national identity or criticising foreign policy. The article is not about how it COULD be used, and therefore there should be no mention of France or the Netherlands here - I would delete that. The original context is Spain. It was borrowed into actual use in the context of Britain. It was borrowed again in the context of America. Those are the stages in the history of the phrase. Now if you can show that it is is being applied (repeatedly and consistently, not just by one joker) with respect to China, then we should include that, but not just because it theoretically could be. That seems to me to be a pretty clear-cut dividing line. --Doric Loon 10:16, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
I have deleted the propaganda for American warcrimes. There should be millions of words added to this article before this information may have a small place (under the sun).--Daanschr 13:00, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
And I have reinstated it. That was sheer vandalism. You can't just delete a section without getting a consensus. And since you are obviously not even trying to disguise the fact that you are politically motivated, you will never get a consensus. The section is on the development of the concept in the American context. It is not pro-American propaganda. Nor is it critical of America (though the concept it charts may be). This is an unbiased account of the way different parties use the same phrase. --Doric Loon 14:19, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
Keeping this section is a political act as well. You jump into conclusions if you think that a consensus can never be reached.
The fact that this information is mentioned alone is pro-American propaganda.It is biased to my opinion, because (to repeat myself) millions of words should be added to this article before this information may have a small place.--Daanschr 15:35, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
Counting pros and cons for the deletion of this paragraph: pro Daanschr, Kraikk, Jarby; con Doric Loon, Wiki-Ed. I think Jarby makes a good point.--Daanschr 15:39, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
I think you misread the above sections: Kraikk was persuaded by Doric's references and Jarby does not appear to exist. Which leaves just you. Wiki-Ed 16:33, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
Jarby does exist. I still believe the section on America is warpropaganda for the American nazi-stalinists.--Daanschr 16:37, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for sharing your opinion. Perhaps you could find some references to support that. Wiki-Ed 20:36, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

A reference for the existence of Jarby can be found by pushing on the name Jarby. I don't know how many edits he or she made. A reference to my claim that the data on America is obscure and should be added after a million words have been added to the article is impossible. For this issue, the NPOV-rule is more appropriate instead of trying to find references. Wether sources are abscure or not is a question of debate.--Daanschr 07:38, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
Although I happen to disagree with the assertion that the US has an "empire", it is not obscure. This article is about the use of a term and regardless of your opinion on the matter, it has been applied to the US - the references prove this. Even if there were any sources to support your claim that the article is being used as a soapbox for "nazi-stalinist" "warpropaganda" it would be irrelevant: NPOV means expressing the balance, not deleting material that you believe to be offensive to your personal sensibilities. Wiki-Ed 09:15, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
You are wrong with your claim that this article is a soapbox for "nazi-stalinist" warpropaganda. My exact phrase was that the section on America is warpropaganda for the American nazi-stalinists, so not nazi-stalinists in general. You are wrong about personal sensibilities, i merely stated the fact that the particular section is used for warpropaganda for the American nazi-stalinists.
In regard of the balance. There is a multitude of information to make this article far larger than it is now. Given this multitude, it would be good and the right thing to do, to delete the obscure information about America. Perhaps a new article can be made on the subject of America in relationship to an empire on which the sun never sets.--Daanschr 10:20, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

You (not me) asserted that the article is being used in a particular way because a particular section says something it does not. And this assertion is not a "fact", it is your personal opinion which has no source and no relevance to an encyclopedia. Also, the information on America is not "obscure", I wonder if this is the word you meant to use? Wiki-Ed 13:07, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

That is all your opinion.--Daanschr 13:45, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
Lol. No it's based on what you've written. Or do you mean the content of the article, which is the opinion of the sources cited? Wiki-Ed 17:37, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
What you write is your opinion. Sources have no opinions, they are an amalgam of opinions of people. I have to agree that i am fooling around a little bit. Need to spend more time on my final paper. Hope the economy doesn't collapse before i got a job.--Daanschr 18:45, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Well, isn't this a profound and intelligent discussion. Daanschr: if you have nothing concrete to say, you'd be best to drop this. --Doric Loon 09:58, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

You sound a little agitated, Doric. Everything allright with you?--Daanschr 10:16, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Yeh, cool man! --Doric Loon 14:20, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

With all due respect, I do exist. I have never bothered editing anything on Wikipedia as I only use it to read, at least for the time being. I merely added my above comment because, having an avid interest in history, already knew of the "Sun never sets..." phrase, and found the idea that the sun never sets on the citizens, posessions and military bases a rather vague concept. As someone pointed out above, this applies to most countries one way or another. As it happens I was (vaguely) satisfied with the response which is why I never bothered bringing it up again, but for the record: yes I do exist. ~~Jarby~~


Revert history:

  1. 20:53, 8 June 2007 Wiki-Ed (Talk | contribs) (6,414 bytes) (Removed first two maps (which included terra incognita and oceans) in favour of third.)
  2. 16:40, 9 June 2007 The Ogre (Talk | contribs) (6,961 bytes) (rv - Why? That does not seem a sufficient reason for rm information!)
  3. 17:28, 9 June 2007 Wiki-Ed (Talk | contribs) m (6,414 bytes) (Undid revision 137055257 by The Ogre (talk) Because they're inaccurate and misleading? That's a perfectly good reason)

The Ogre 17:58, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

A number of maps seem to have crept into this article over time, some of which have been inaccurate - in particular the one of the Portugese Empire which included the oceans and the Spanish one which included lands that were never even visited. The combined map seems to include the correct territory for both. This article is about empires on which the sun never set - it should not include land that was not part of the empires mentioned. Wiki-Ed 16:34, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
Hello Wiki-Ed! I have to disagree with you on the innacuray of the maps of the Portuguese Empire and the Spanish Empire, they have been the object of lenghty discussions on their respective talk pages (and associate ones). So I believe, along with many others, that the maps are accurate anachronous maps of those empires. Notice that the blue sea areas in the Portuguese map do not state that they belonged to Portugal (even if for a while there was a Mare clausum policy) - it is stated that those waters were "main sea explorations, routes and areas of inluence.", which is quite different! I am not going to revert you, however. I am going to ask for a third opinion. Thanks! The Ogre 17:49, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
Asked for a third opinion stating: Talk:The_empire_on_which_the_sun_never_sets#Maps: Disagreement about the inclusion of maps of the Portuguese Empire and the Spanish Empire (for full maps see version [1]. 17:55, 9 June 2007 (UTC). The Ogre 17:58, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Third opinion[edit]

After looking over everything, I would suggest taking any concerns about inaccuracies to each image's talk page. After resolving that, it can be decided whether or not to keep the maps. Also, some of the maps may be better used in a gallery, rather than lining the side of the page. Wrad 20:07, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

A gallery would probably be good in any case. However, I feel that maps on this page should be showing territories that were actually ruled by those empires so it is clear to the reader how the phrase is applicable. Therefore they can be retrospectively accurate and should not reflect ambitious contemporary claims (e.g. Amazonia before it was even explored). The British Empire map does not include claimed areas such as western Greenland (cf. contemporary image on BE article) or Antartica. I appreciate this might not necessarily be what editors want to show on the actual articles for the Spanish and Portugese empires but this is a different article. I am not an expert by any means, but the (current) top map appears to be more realistic and informative for the purposes of this article. Wiki-Ed 22:18, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Why do we have these maps anyway? The article is about the catchphrase, which has been used of the Spanish and British empires and the American sphere of influence. Maps of those three things would be great. But we don't have one of the American sphere of influence, and instead have maps of (and references to) French, Portuguese and Dutch imperial history, none of which is relevant here. If we want a history of world empires, there must surely be a more suitable article to house these maps. --Doric Loon 14:24, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

The empire on which the sun never sets[edit]

why doesn't the article mention what is the meaning of The empire on which the sun never sets itself?

That's exactly what i thought. One could easily take it literally and don't understand the irony. and still, it's like an article describing various type of houses without explain first what a house itself is. --Do you know me?...then SHUT UP!!! Sarcasm is beauty 02:56, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Merge proposal (with global empire)[edit]

Hi Dbachman, I am not really taken with your merge proposal. This article hangs quite well together as a history of the motif / phrase. The other one is really a list of global empires. Let's not mix these up. --Doric Loon (talk) 18:26, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree Provocateur (talk) 02:12, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
I also agree - do not merge. The Ogre (talk) 03:34, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

OK, I'm deleting the merge tag as nothing more has been said here. --Doric Loon (talk) 00:55, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Citation requests[edit]

I've added two "fact" tags. The first needs an explanation: I have only slight knowledge of Spanish, but it seems to me that this phrase is often cited differently in Spanish (with ponía, for example). I suspect what has happened here is that a Wikipedian has translated the English into Spanish, but that is not authentic. Can we cite the exact form found in Spanish-language history books, and source it? --Doric Loon (talk) 07:20, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

The British empire and the American Empire[edit]

this artical says to much toward the moden as some would call it 'American Empire' and very little of the british empire where it was mostly used, and most known for being used for. The American Empire, doesnt even exsist its just POV, and has never actually been propally assosaited with this articals tital, It is just the reference given isnt even relavent to this artical, dispite americas troops having presance is 6-7 world locations this doesnt make it an empire, and is too POV, and untill proper refrerences are found should be removed. The line 'Today ... the sun never sets on American territory, properties owned by the U.S. government and its citizens' is like wise not relevant because the artical is about the Empire which the sun never sets not small bases over the world. The reference to this talks more about the 'english language'. (sorry about the spelling)

What is said america is exaccly the same as what is said on this web site is this aloud, depending on the originality? This artical should be looked at further. (talk) 17:43, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

The website you have found is a commercial mirror site which copies articles from here. This is a wiki article which we wrote, and they have reproduced it.
As for the American material, I think we have already dealt with that above, but if you have any new point, we can certainly talk about it. Please note that the article does not imply that America is an empire: only that American discourse has borrowed motifs from earlier empires. America certainly needs to be dealt with here, since the sources given clearly show it's relevance. But probably the British section should be expanded, to create a balance, because this phrase is most familiar in the British context, and that should have the longest discussion. --Doric Loon (talk) 00:49, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Ban Maps[edit]

Please continue to keep maps OFF this page - the article is about the history of the phrase - not the empires - the maps were irrelevant and were an unneeded and distracting cause of contention, here. No maps here please! Provocateur (talk) 21:13, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Looks like they're back ;-) --Doric Loon (talk) 10:04, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
That would be like explaining where a less known restaurant is situated, with no use of not even a streetmap. Since human beings have colour-vision, maps are quite common. ( (talk) 08:49, 4 June 2010 (UTC))
Maps are relevant in this article, because there would never have been such a phrase if there had not been such empires. -FKLS (talk) 10:55, 20 January 2011 (UTC)


A paragraph has just been added on the use of the phrase with reference to the Commonwealth. I find this plausible, but we do need a reference or that will just be deleted again. --Doric Loon (talk) 10:04, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Russia is an example[edit]

From my expertise knowledge on geography and mapping, plus the time zones of the world, the territorial landmass of Russia extends west to east: a total of 8,000 miles across and encompasses one-sixth of the globe's land surface. Russia has 10 time zones, therefore it would be sunset in the Uelen Peninsula at the easternmost part (Asia), but its' sunrise in Kaliningrad on the Baltic sea (Europe) in the very west...and if it was sunset in Moscow it would be sunrise in the Kamchatka peninsula. The Arctic Circle has irregular periods of daylight (the Northern summer) and twilight (the Northern winter), the sun never sets from May 1 to Aug. 15 for the farthest north along the Arctic ocean. The modern-day "empire on which the sun never sets" is Russia, whether it is the Tsarist empire, the Soviet Union and the federation (republic), to go by accurate geopolitical and geographic evidence by looking at today's Russia's 10 time zones. + (talk) 12:20, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

True, the phrase could be used of Russia. But has it been? Before you add it here you must find citable sources to show that this English phrase, or its translation, or even an independent parallel form, is in fact being used regularly to refer to Russia. --Doric Loon (talk) 20:23, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Agreed Doric Loon. Similarly, the phrase could still be used in reference to Britain and it's overseas territories. (With Pitcairn and the Indian Ocean Territory, the sun still never sets on what's left of the empire) But no-one does use it as such. --Warpfactor (talk) 21:31, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Even if someone used the phrase of Russia, past or present, or of Soviet Union, it would not be true. Of course, in summer, the sun remains above the horizon of the Northernmost regions of Russia. But in winter, the sun sets even on Kaliningrad many hours earlier than it rises on Kamchatka or on Bering Strait. -FKLS (talk) 10:55, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
I made a calculation (on an online sunrise/sunset calculator), and (apparently) it was never true of the Russian Empire, ever (it might've occasionally been true of the Soviet Union and/or the modern Russian Federation, if we include some military and/or Antarctic bases, but that's really stretching it).
The largest east-west extent of the Russian Empire was approximately between 1814 and 1818; but even then, as I calculated, near the winter solstice the sun would rise on the empire's easternmost possession at Fort Ross only about fifteen minutes after it had already set on the empire's westernmost possession at Jever.
-- (talk) 15:40, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

Russia has a research base in the Antarctic Peninsula, and it is antipodal to a location in Russian Siberia. Even without a territorial claim, Russia presumably has some uncontested legal authority at the base, so in a way the Sun never sets on Russia.Pbrower2a (talk) 03:44, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

American synthesis tag[edit]

About a month ago somebody put a "synthesis" tag on the American section, but has not given any explanation. I intend to delete this tag if none is given. That section is well sourced and says nothing which is not in the sources. I don't see any sign that we have put the information together in a way that constitutes OR. Bearing in mind that we have already had some attacks from people who didn't want America mentioned here for POV reasons, this tag cannot be left without reasons given. --Doric Loon (talk) 06:33, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

British Empire[edit]

Obviously it is politically incorrect for any country to have an empire today, and most of the British Empire's territories have developed into nations and therefore gained indendpendence. Alothough today, due to political correctness and land mass of territories held, Britain doesn't really have an empire. However, they do have what is left of one; in the form of 14 'British overseas territories'. These are places with economies or populations too small to become nations. But my point being, the sun doesn't set on them.

Maybe a sentence could be included in the article to present this fact? Thanks, Flosssock1 (talk) 20:52, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

I think the issue is not political correctness, so much as simply one of language development and common useage - nobody talks about those territories as being imperial. We do use the terminology "post-colonialism" to refer to the lasting legacy of the past empire. But I think this article should stick to the phrase and the way it is actually used, not how it theoretically could be. --Doric Loon (talk) 21:01, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
But it would be good to include the fact don't you think? Flosssock1 (talk) 22:45, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
?? Flosssock1 (talk) 16:36, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Take the silence to mean "no" - as per the discussions on the other talk pages where you've raised this. :) Wiki-Ed (talk) 18:32, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

British Empire[edit]

I thint that the quote the empire on which the sun never sets is not an exaggerated term in the way so far as the uk colonised numerous territories around the world from east to west and north to south .so that can be understood by the fact that the sun never sets in all colonised countries at the same time , the rather for the rather because britain was the principal ruler . M.LEYE

Hello all writers, I've changed the article a bit. After reading the discussion about it I found out that there is much debate about how the American use of the phrase is described, hence, I've decided to make it clearer, for I think it wasn't understood well enough, the the U.S. use of the concept is voluntary and self-made. Also, it isn't entirely correct, or doesn't look to good, when the examples and citations are in the article it-self, therefore I've put them in the reference, however, I made a bit of a technical mistake there which I couldn't solve, it would be nice if somebody could help there. Furthermore, I believe other countries, societies and movement, in an attempt to lay claim and adduce territorial empire or global power and influence, have made a usage of this phrase; that is the reason I changed the title to other use, for that is what it is. Nevertheless, I've failed to find reliable source for this custom, I gather it would be for the sake of Wikipedia's "full information" ideology to complete this section with suitable expandings.

Charles Anderson —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:10, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

I found the section was written well enough that the reader could drawn to that conclusion on their own, and did not need to be slanted in that direction. Per WP:NPOV, I reverted your changes. If is you wish to include a new section with "Other uses", please feel free. But, keep in mind that you must adhere to no original research and should include reliable sources. Good day, Akerans (talk) 17:37, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
Most British colonies have long ago become independent. But there are still some British overseas territories, mostly small islands, and they are scattered in all oceans in such a way that the old phrase is still true (even if it is hardly ever used anymore). Should not this fact at least be mentioned in this article? On the other hand, it should also be mentioned that although the phrase was used of Spain already in the time of Charles V, it was then not strictly true; it became true only after Spain had conquired Philippines (and so remained until 1898, when it lost both Philippines and Cuba in the Spanish-American war). -FKLS (talk) 10:55, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

About century.[edit]

'I correct this article to emphasise that 'Sun never sets' was set to Spanish Empire at 16th Century, and set to English Empire at 18th, 250 years later.

I don't think adding the centuries really improved the article, it seems redundant and the tone tended to be demeaning to the latter, British Empire.

You're feeling a *subjective* tone. For me, the article tone of this tended to be partial to the English empire. Exactly, England stolen 'Donde nunca se pone el Sol' from Spain empire. It's a LITERAL translation from spanish language, 200 years later. That it's important to mark. If not, you are changing the HIstory. Wikipedia must be more imparcial, free and depth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:51, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

About Spanish empire map[edit]

It's curious that you put the smallest possible map for Spanish Empire. Philip II adds Portugal and it's colonies to Spanish Empire, more greater than that. This map is wrong. You have a short point of view anglos saxon typical. You are also forgotten that England hurt gold to Spain to create their pirate empire. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:31, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

I'm no expert on this historical period, but there seems to be a lot of discussion about the map, see: commons:File talk:Spanish Empire.png. But, when referring to the year 1598 in the article, definitely the smaller territory map makes more sense, considering the entire USA wasn't "settled" by the Spaniards at that time, just a small portion of it. Hope that answers your question. --Funandtrvl (talk) 20:58, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Spanish empire was longer, you can use this, for example. 18th century :

Definitely, wikipedia must be more impartial. You post the most greater map for the english empire and the smallest for the spanish empire. It is.

NOTE: you refers USA when USA didn't exists. Its a very young and amazing country. USA exists thanks to the help of French and Spanish people don't forget it. I stop wasting my time. Bye. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:08, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

Modern day France[edit]

I was wondering if it might be worth mentioning that France is the only modern day country for which the phrase still applies. Drilou (talk) 23:58, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

No isn't and no it shouldn't be mentioned in this context. Wiki-Ed (talk) 13:49, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes it is: Drilou (talk) 21:57, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Same applies to the UK - it and its overseas territories are always in the sun, but this article is not about that - it is about the historic use of the phrase. Wiki-Ed (talk) 11:21, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Actually no, it doesn't apply to the UK. As you can tell from the timezones, there's a 14 hour gap between the British Indian Ocean Territory and the Pitcairn Islands. The largest gap in French territories is 6 hours wide. Also there seems to be a lot of information in this article that goes far beyond the subject of the use of the phrase, historic or otherwise.Drilou (talk) 16:54, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Don't you fellows ever learn? This article is about the history of an expression, not the empires that it was used to refer to. It is about how that expression was used historically, not how it could have been or could be used. FACT: at first it became a "logo", so to speak, of the Spanish empire and later, the British, not the French, not the Russian, the Dutch, etc. Provocateur (talk) 23:57, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Philip II of Spain, king of England[edit]

Philip I was king of england. I'd put England like spanish colonia too. source:, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:04, 11 December 2010 (UTC) Philip never exercised any real power while on the throne in England as he did in the Netherlands Provocateur (talk) 00:06, 12 December 2010 (UTC) PLEASE REFERENCES, Felipe II was king of England, Neherlands and half of World. If used his power or not, its your opinion. Please references.

The very highest councils of state that were used by Philip II to run his empire were never used to run England - England's own highest bodies were used and Mary was clearly the one who led. You never, ever hear or read of anyone, then or now, speaking about England as being part of the Spanish imperium, either officially or defacto. When Philip came to the English throne, he was even required to swear to the English Parliament that he would not bring the English army into his wars (he in fact did, but only with the conivance of leading Englishmen, including parliamentarians and above all with Mary's support). In fact, when Mary married Philip, that England would become a mere defacto part of the Spain's empire was a great concern of leading Englishmen, hence the strict conditions they required of Philip (and their surprise at the grace he showed in what was close to a humiliation). If you wish to include England within Philip's empire please provide good positive references that it was considered in such a way, either then or by (more than a few) well considered later scholars. Provocateur (talk) 22:32, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

French Empire Anyone?[edit]

The Spanish Empire may have been large, but not very extensive. It was limited to the Americas. The Philippines were also colonized by Spain for some time, but they are not hugely significant. This article needs some major revisions as France had a larger empire and a more extensive empire. France has colonized every continent on the Earth. I know someone will try and denounce this so I will prove it by listing at least one place colonized on every continent. North America: Canada, Haiti, Various Caribbean islands South America: French Guiana Europe: France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Monaco Africa: Many countries, Algeria, Senegal, to name a couple Asia: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Parts of India, (French indochina) Antarctica: French Antarctic Holdings Australia (Oceania): Many islands throughout the Pacific, New Caledonia

I would visit: French Colonial Empire to view a map of the former French Colonial Empire. Versus this map of the Spanish Colonial Empire: Spanish Colonial Empire.

This article is inaccurate and should be changed. While the Spanish colonial empire was large, it was confined to a small part of the world, and was still smaller than the French Colonial Empire while the French colonial empire truly had sunshine during any given time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:28, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

This article is NOT about empires; it is about the historic use of an expresssion!. Is this difficult to understand? Provocateur (talk) 22:30, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

In the same light, the Dutch had places antipodal to each other in their possession: Surinam and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). It's hard to imagine that anyone took seriously the idea that "the sun never sat on the Dutch Empire". Pbrower2a (talk) 02:56, 21 November 2014 (UTC)


Really? Its addition seems really forced. The entire thing about the globe in personal mottos is completely irrelevant to this specific saying. This article about the saying and it's application to an empire not a empire being being described in relation to a globe because I bet many other empires not listed here have been described in relation to a globe yet still has none of the attributes (the sun never setting in the empire). Since the globe motif has nothing to do directly with a setting sun it should be removed. The quote by Luis de Camões is relevant and should stay, but not the previous paragraph. --The Emperor's New Spy (talk) 03:44, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm also sceptical about Portugal. Unless someone appears here to give a good defense of it, I would delete the whole section. --Doric Loon (talk) 12:20, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Hi, I stuck this section, tought it would be well received, regardless of the sentence be linked to the Spanish Empire and later to the British. I thought to find also quotes in future (even very close to small (or not) sections linked to the Netherlands or France) it would make more sense. If I added the Portuguese empire, we must put some other powers or states, because I have an idea to read something about the use of this phrase or similar to it about them(?). Maybe. Literature is a large source, but just researching. Obviously that was the purpose of the quote from Camões as an example, yet different, but close. In Lusíadas, is the only similar phrase, the other verses use more, it seems to me, notions of grandeur, the celestial sphere ("the World Machine" - the Cosmos Sphere) yet all of them with the same meaning: about the extent of future hemispheric or global conquests in the East, the West, etc..
More research, in "Decades of Asia" of João de Barros, Garcia de Resende and the other Chroniclers in Portugal; in German authors of the time - and even the Papacy letters or Sermons (during King Manuel and John III reigns), we would find more - or very similar, even if not the phrase literally mentioned here used by or for Charles V, Philip II and the British later; but using only a quote of Camões by now (since, again, this is about the literally phrase used mostly to the Spanish and British empires) was not yet a massive new Portuguese section for many uses or quotes that have had similar meanings, but only this sentence very near the idea for now (neither a mention in the introduction).
About to attach the Armillary Sphere of king Manuel (also used in John III`s reign and not only), and with first importance and firstly (to the sentence of Camões over the course of the sun in this article), I am surprised for your surprise (sorry for the redundancy). The expression "Globe" in D. Manuel is not only the "Globe" earthly (far from them), but heavenly. The Globe there then appears with an heavenly semantic - it was the Celestial Sphere. I think you know about, the Armillary Sphere, then understood on a geocentric perspective, astronomical and spiritual (and hence the diagonal form of the Zodiac) or already heliocentric to various minds, starting from the second half of that century. It was and it is the symbol of the Celestial Orb, and in the central plane, the Armillary Sphere is the symbol of the total course of the Sun relative to the Earth in the Zodiac - and relative to the Zodiac (The central meaning in the Armillary Sphere).
If it is inconsistent with the article, which is about the phrase, and I never forget it - I though then this edit on Portugal was good and about it - in all - but after all maybe not (?). If not, delete it;... unless (if we have time) it is done research in many authors of the century (with more verses or phrases maybe), and if justified, in any case, remains - or in case of delection, reenters. --LuzoGraal (talk) 18:03, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Appreciate the effort you've put in, but I think you have to be careful about orginal research here: you're drawing together sources to emphasise something that is not expressed in the same way in reliable sources (or is it?). If this phrase (or something very close to it) was in common usage in relation to the Portugese Empire then we need a source which says this, not illustrations of similar concepts. For example, the first section is not using the same phrase, but the poem does convey the same meaning - maybe this should be brought up to the top and the rest summarised? Wiki-Ed (talk) 20:56, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. In the same way in reliable sources? No; it seems to me that in most of them, no (but I need to read more about), but in other ways yes. Well, "Os Lusiadas" (as exemple) at the end of that century was in common usage (quotes etc., and more popular, at least in Portugal and Iberian Peninsula, than many other works or quotes - but the book and its verses as a whole, especially verses at the beginning, which includes these ones (Canto I).). Then it will be easier to find a source to attach the existing ones there, I think(?!). Well, in the strict sense perspective, and given the traditional association with the use of the phrase (and it was, of course, for or by Charles V, Phillip II of Spain and Britain. Fact), then duplicated by historiography (in large scale), especially Anglo-Saxon and Hispanic (and not only), then the edit is original research, therefore, subject to removal. And if the sentence here is literal (not other forms thereof), the option is also for the removal of the section. On the other hand, if it is to be, or if there is interest in this, for enrichment of the article and a broader interpretation of the subject can be maintained (and probably under a new section title), since there was apparently this wide idea in Portugal, but in other formulas for the same sense, you can maintain; - or, with a new title (not as Spain, UK and USA title-sections, were the literal phrase was widely used), with... prior ways under this idea, alternative formulations, Portugal (and not only) etc.. Something like this or meaning this. Other thing/Apart: the content of the section is not original research, of course (I mean, the content, per si, without this debate about the article and its meaning), but rigorous and with reliable sources, and even short, by the absence of more citations, if the meaning of Article would be theoretically wider (but only in such case, of course). --LuzoGraal (talk) 18:42, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
I am going to remove the paragraph about the orbs because it is not directly related to the phrase in question while the poem can still possibly be.--The Emperor's New Spy (talk) 08:58, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
Thou mighty King, whose high Empire
The Sun, soon rising, see first,
Sees it also in the middle of the Hemisphere,
And descending, sights it as the last one.

The central idea of the expression is that the sun never sets; it is clear that Camões poem does not express the same idea, quite the opposite. The verse and the earlier statements about orbs should be moved to the Portuguese Empire page. Provocateur (talk) 13:22, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Thanks The Emperor`s New Spy. As you wish or you find most insightful or consistent - and because I needed more time to research more about this. By now you had to make a decision.--LuzoGraal (talk) 18:16, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
Provocateur, only a "repair": though you're right, Camões`s verses refer astronomically to an empire that covers an entire hemisphere or half the planet, at least symbolically even a little more - or more - and therefore astronomically and planetary, is an empire where the Sun never sets. About the literal aspect, you are right and it is an objective fact, however, in the literary field and poetic interpretation, metaphorical and symbolically (and astronomically) those verses refer to an empire where the sun does not set. And with this we are not saying that those verses fit this article. Maybe not, or only in parallel perhaps yes - but it is a note on the same.--LuzoGraal (talk) 18:16, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
This is poetry Luzo. We're talking about using words to evoke images. The expression of this article is based on the image of a sun that never sets, ie, is fixed in the sky. Camoes verse, on the other hand, employs the images of a rising, moving and setting sun. The hemisphere is the sky across which the sun is moving. Provocateur (talk) 21:53, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Keep it simple?[edit]

Having come here to discover whether it is still the case that the sun never sets on the scattered possession of the United Kingdom, I am frustrated by the lack of a straight answer. Can I propose that we need for each empire cited (note that empire is a technical term) we should start the section with the statement: from X to Y it was true of this one, though calculating X could be problematic. And the determination of those dates would make an excellent high school project, if anyone is in a position to hand out such assignments. Ender's Shadow Snr (talk) 11:31, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

The important thing is not when or whether it was true, but when and how people found it politically useful to say it. This is all about the culture of self-legitimation, not about the realities of power. --Doric Loon (talk) 16:09, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Which was one of the reasons I wanted to get rid of the bloody maps - they're a distraction from the imperialist bragging behind the expression. Perhaps we could have images of symbols from those times or ancient maps.Provocateur (talk)
Agreed. --Doric Loon (talk) 18:58, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── XKCD's Randall Munroe calculated for his "What If" article series that the sun has not yet set on the British Empire (counting Britain and the British Overseas Territories, but not Commonwealth nations), only due to the ongoing possession of the Pitcairn Islands. If and how this should be integrated into the article, I leave to regular editors of this subject. -- saberwyn 06:19, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

Before Doric Loon's head pops I will answer this and say I don't think we should include a reference to this. The article is about the historical use of the phrase, not the actual distribution of overseas territories. In any case I think we'd be looking for reliable historical sources. Wiki-Ed (talk) 09:24, 10 June 2013 (UTC)
My unpopped head is duly grateful! --Doric Loon (talk) 16:31, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

Os Lusiadas, Portugal, does not belong[edit]

The Portuguese epic poem, Os Lusiadas, Canto I, refers to the rising of the sun, its daily movement across the sky ("hemisphere", ie, the half sphere or dome of the sky, as it appears to a person on the ground) and its setting; therefore the Os Lusiadas does not belong in this article about an expression which has at its heart the image of a never setting sun and therefore by implication, a never rising and never moving sun. Provocateur (talk) 05:21, 30 June 2014 (UTC)