List of largest empires
An empire involves the extension of a state's sovereignty over external territories and variety of different ethnic groups. The term "empire" in this context (not necessarily a state ruled by an emperor) does not have a precise definition, but is generally applied to political entities that are considered to be especially large by the standards of their time and that have acquired a significant part of their territory by conquest. This article provides a list of the largest empires in world history, but the list is not and cannot be definitive since the decision about which entities to consider as "empires" is difficult and fraught with controversy.
Both what constitutes an empire and the calculation of the land area of a particular empire are controversial subjects. Taagepera defines an empire as "any relatively large sovereign political entity whose components are not sovereign" and its size as the area over which the empire has some undisputed military and taxation prerogatives.
Largest empires by land area
For context, note that the total land area of the Earth is 148,940,000 km2 (57,500,000 sq mi). This is a list of empires whose greatest extent exceeded 2% of that area.
Empires at their greatest extent
- List of empires
- List of former transcontinental countries
- List of former sovereign states
- Colonial empire
- The empire on which the sun never sets
- List of Copper Age states
- List of Bronze Age states
- List of Iron Age states
- List of Classical Age states
- List of states during Late Antiquity
- List of states during the Middle Ages
- List of medieval great powers
- List of political and geographic subdivisions by total area
- List of sovereign states and dependencies by area
Notes and references
- Taagepera, Rein (1 January 1979). "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.". Social Science History. 3 (3/4): 117. doi:10.2307/1170959. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
- CIA – The World Factbook
- Rein Taagepera (September 1997). "Expansion and Contraction Patterns of Large Polities: Context for Russia". International Studies Quarterly. 41 (3): 492–502. doi:10.1111/0020-8833.00053. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
- Turchin, Peter; Adams, Jonathan M.; Hall, Thomas D (December 2006). "East-West Orientation of Historical Empires". Journal of world-systems research. 12 (2): 222–223. ISSN 1076-156X. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
- Taagepera, Rein (1979). "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.". Social Science History. 3 (3/4): 121–122, 124–125, 127–129, 132–133. doi:10.2307/1170959. Retrieved 25 August 2016.