Talk:List of medieval great powers

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Shouldn't the Mayas be included as either an Ancient power or a early medieval power? I mean it certainly fulfills the definition given on the page of a historical power (This article deals with the world most powerful nations and empires before the Congress of Vienna. A Great Power/Nation/Empire is a nation or state that, through its great economic, political and military strength, is able to exert power over its region of the world). The Mayas were without a doubt the economic, political and military powerhouse of the region. CuffX 03:48, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Not only the Mayas, there were many regional powers that were masters of their worlds, but since they weren't located in the fertile crescent they don't make this list. It brings out the western civilization bias that most people are brought up with. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Harburg (talkcontribs) 03:36, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

I disagree. The Inca and the aztecs are very well known as empires in western historic teaching. Each of the two empires has had a population that was bigger than all countries in Europe except perhaps France. You can argue about military power compared to the empires in the rest of the world, but for sure they were economic powers of high rank. What does the fertile crescent have to do with anything? China isnt in the fertile crescent but still at the list. I can agree that the schould have a special section cause of their isolation from the others and that exactly what I gave them now 20:39, 27 February 2009 (UTC)


Can we split the article into three main sections: such as Ancient Era, Medieval Era and Colonial Era or something like that? Nobleeagle (Talk) 03:27, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

That might be a better split than the regional splits I thought of. Aussie King Pin 04:28, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Actually I thought we could have both...something like:

==Ancient Powers== ===Europe=== ====Rome==== Stuff ====Egypt==== Stuff ===South Asia==== ==Medieval Powers== etc. etc.

Nobleeagle (Talk) 04:46, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

I don't quite get what you mean, can you explian. Aussie King Pin 23:23, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Sorry...I meant three main sections: Ancient, Medieval and Colonial. Within each section the world is split into regions based on the extent of globalisation. Within those regions we have sections on each of the historical powers. No power should be added without a source. Nobleeagle (Talk) 03:19, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I don't think that their will be enough nations for this to work be we can try it. Aussie King Pin 07:02, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

this article cannot be much more than a list, because if it aims at covering the history of 2500 BC to AD 1500, there are simply too many items (and it is woefully incomplete as of now). I suggest we treat Early Modern powers (1500 to 1800) over at Early Modern Age. Also, we shouldn't have a section per power, but just a section per period (Bronze Age, Iron Age, Antiquity, Middle Ages) with a brief paragraph each. The full list of Ancient Near Eastern powers, for example, should be at Ancient Near East (which is still a pityful stub itself). dab () 08:59, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Dab, I think this article can be more than a list it's just that this article will only be fully started once the Great Power page is sorted out and posified and the other editiors in this department can give their time. I know for myself that I will have the time once school finish in Early Demember so this won't see much action until then. Aussie King Pin 09:04, 15 November 2006 (UTC)


Tell me, why is Bulgaria not a Historical Power in the Middle Ages and Britain is??? In what way britain, for instance exceeds Bulgaria during the Middle Ages????????? It may be much more famous but this definetely does NOT mean that it has greater achievements.

I will be pleased to receive your answer and then compare it with Bulgarian achievements. I want the artecle for Bulgaria to be restored.--Gligan 13:11, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Why is Bulgaria a Historical Power

1) Bulgaria defeated the Arabs before Constantinople, Khan Tervel was called by contemporary western historians the "Saviour of Europe" => they stopped the Arab invasion in Eastern Europe, as the Franks did in Western Europe.

2) Bulgaria served as a shield of Europe against various Nomadic tribes from Central Asia; they were effectively stopped from migrating to the west by the strong Bulgarian Army.

3) Bulgaria was one of the only three empires in Europe which survived for more than just a few decades.

4) The second mostly used alphabet in the world, the Cyrillic was invented and developped in Bulgaria with huge amount of literature created.

5) Bulgaria was the first state in Europe to have an independent National Church.

These are only the most impertant of the achievements and successes of the Bulgarian Empire in the Middle Ages. --Gligan 15:50, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Ok Gilgan, I will accpet those reason however you will needed to find sources for them otherwise you will find that other users like NobleEagle or Gerbrendal who religious stick to policies will delete for being unsorced--Aussie King Pin 08:29, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Indeed. :). Please provide a source and then I will believe that Bulgaria has a right to be mentioned here. Nobleeagle

[TALK] [C] 08:38, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

A few things that I have noticed. One, since Bulgeria is joining the EU, Bulgerians are becoming more active in spreading their opinions. Two, if you search for information about Eastern Europe, you have Kieven Rus, and then Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth, and it is very difficult to find anything about Bulgeria. Three, unless you get enough people with your view, you will not be able to post in wiki, because people like Eagle will remove anything that they have not previously heard. That means that countries that are currently powerful, have a much greater chance of being included because the current school system teaches about these countries. Four, in what way did Bulgeria influence others. For example, Poland is 1 of the earliest democracies, although the system was a failure because of liberal veto. France has colonies and french was the global language at one time. English is currently. Russia had a great sphere of influence at one point. It is so easy to find things on any country. But they all cant be powers.

Watch, off the top of my head, from west to east in europe. Spain - Discovers New World and spreads Spanish and Christianity, Portugal- Spread Spanish and christianity to the new world. England, The industrial revolution. France, Napolean nearly conquered entire Europe. Italy, birth place of renaissance. Swiss, geneva conventions. Low countries- centers for finance and colonies. Germany- Protastant christianity. Denmark- Controlled baltic sea trade. Poland- Largest European country. Now watch, the farther you are into eastern europe, the more time the country has been controlled by another nation. Southern Eastern Europe is controled for what, a thousand years atleast?

The fact that Bulgaria is not famous does not mean that that it does not deserve its place among the great countries in the world; it is not fair the english and the american media to control the opinion of the people. This is why some things of the current teaching system should be changed. I do not deny the achievements of Kievan Rus and Poland, if you wish, add them. I DO NOT like the EU so my activity has nothing to do with it; i want the EU to seize existing but as long as it exists Bulgaria should be in. Bulgaria influence others through its language and literature. For instance in 14th-15th centuries the higher clergy in the Russian principalities were Bulgarians who fled from the Ottomans and spread our highly developped literature in that time in the Russian lands. And even earlier, when Rus' was accepting christianity, the ordinary people accepted it from Bulgarian missionaires (the Royal court from the Byzantines). The serbs copied EVERYTHING from Bulgaria; the literatire language of non-Slavic Wallachia until late 18th and early 19th was Bulgarian. The Russians inherited the TSAR title of our Emperors. It its zenith our country WAS the largest in Europe (larger than every contemporary state in Europe excluding Russia), it encompassed greece north of Athens, European Turkey without Istanbul and parts of the Gallipoli, the whole of Bulgaria, Macedonia, serbia, romania, Albania, Moldova, parts of Bosnia, Hungary east of the Danube, southern Slovakia, Ukraine west of the Dneper. And lastly: why are you talking about colonies, industrial revolution, democracy or finance? In the Middle Ages there are not such terms and I regard BULGARIA as a Middle Age Power, and it was conquered in the end of the Middle Ages, so IT DESERVES ITS PLACE HERE; Poland-Lithuania did not exist in the Middle Ages, this example is inappropriate; please tell me with what the French achievements are greater that the Bulgarian in the Middle Ages. Bulgaria was not 1000 years under foreign domitation, but 648 years; and we deserve respect that we survived the Byzantine and the Turkish rules.
I want to know sth: Do you really do not believe that the 5 points above are true??? I can provide you literature in Bulgarian, but you will say why not british sourses; then I ask why don't you provide me Bulgarian sourses for the british history for example? I do not think that the english are smarter or more neutral than the Bulgarians (on the contrary), so the Bulgarian sourses should be trusted, especially if they are related to our own history. SO if you want to I shall add sourses and now I shall add Bulgaria again. --Gligan 09:39, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Encarta, in it's Bulgaria article mentions that "Bulgaria became the strongest nation of Eastern Europe during the reign of Boris' son Simeon." This is a good enough source from me, I just have to insert it into the article, so don't delete the Bulgaria section. --Aussie King Pin 04:15, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

I do not have a problem Bulgeria being included because the whole historical power and great power articles are completely baised. However, there was no such thing as a nation during that time period. Also, it does not matter how powerful the country is, if it had no effect in history, it is meaningless. For example, the aztecs were powerful, but being so far excluded from the rest of the world, they are not exactly historical powers.

The Cyrillic alphabet - the second most used alphabet in the world - was commissioned by a Bulgarian king during time when Bulgaria was the educational center of the Slavic world. Bulgarian clergy facilitated the adoption of Christianity by much of the Slavic peoples at the time. It was powerful enough in the military sense to stop an Arabian invasion and pose a threat to Byzantium. At times it was among the largest countries in Europe by territory. It obviously had serious impact on the world at that time so by all definitions it was a great power. As far as effect on history goes, was it not for the Bulgarian empire, Europe would be Muslim long before the Ottomans, there would be no Russia, etc. etc. So just because you're ignorant to the history of the region, it doesn't mean this history doesn't exist. PS - the Aztecs did have a great influence on their region as well. That's more history you're obviously not familiar with.

I do however suggest Bulgaria is moved under Medieval Europe. I don't know if the person that put it under Middle and Near East ever saw a map, but Bulgaria is clearly in Europe and during its few centuries as a great power it had influence in Europe and not on the Middle or Near East. (talk) 07:52, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

Location of Bulgaria[edit]

Hello everybody, I am asking why the Paragraph about Bulgaria is nested under "Medieval Middle and Near East Great Powers". As far as I know about geography it is fully in Europe, which includes also Eastern Europe as mentioned in the Encarter Quote. Can you help me? Thank you! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:21, 2 May 2014 (UTC)


I'm afraid that Egypt was neither the first great power (militarily, economically or socially speaking) nor the first civilisation. Everyone acknowledges that the Sumerian and Akkadian states of Mesopotamia were the first civilisations, and such cities as Ur. Besides, the Egyptians did not become a military power until after the Hittite invasion. Somebody change this as its not correct! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Why the maps, for example, color all Canada when shows the British Empire and don´t color Patagonia when shows Spanish Empire? The real phisical possession was similar and there was native population that doesn´t know they were under the government of the empire in both cases. Why the effort to doesn´t include Iberian Empire (Spanish and Portuguese Empire between 1580 and 1640) claiming administrative excuses? It was the major Empire ever (more than British) with 35 million km (you have to add Patagonia, Amazonas and other European, African and Asian zones that are missed). If the administrative organization is relevant, the empire of Alexander the Great just doesn´t exist, he maintain the greeks, egypcian, persians, etc isolated and with they way of life (not only administrative, in all aspects), and that was the primary cause of the fall of the empire when he died. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:57, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

List of Countries[edit]

This article has too many blank sections. We should either delete half of them, or better yet merge all the sections into a single lists. The ones that already have text should be used as examples. 24630 02:18, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

I think that we should write around 6-10 lines for each country, pointing out its greatest achievements and successes. --Gligan 11:31, 13 January 2007 (UTC)


Who deleted Byzantine Empire from the list of medieval powers? Or Genoa and Venice? Or the Capetian France? And the Normans in the Mediterranean Sea (Sicily, South Italy, Africa, Middle East)? And many others! It is a sign of great ingnorance in history!

I also still affirm that the article has a too British POV!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Article expansion[edit]

I know there're some kind of terms were you could say the Congress of Vienna is more historical than a random event at the end of World War II (fall of Berlin, the signing of a treaty, the dropping of a bomb), but why not use a more recent historical delimiter?

Also, the growing United American States, even during the Congress of Vienna, probably had a land area equal to or greater than others in this article, as well as an army and navy. And what do you think about including the Federal Republic of Central America, or the Inca Empire? Xaxafrad 07:30, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

so-called glorious britain[edit]

The British Empire the most "glorious" in history? This is an extremely bias POV. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 09:56, 11 March 2007 (UTC).

The British empire is Quite clearly the most glorious empire in history, is covered 1/4 of the worlds population and area a feat that no other empire has ever acheved or will ever acheve, and therefore is not POV, It has also retianed its status and retains the 4th largest economy, and its monachie still covers almost 1/4 of the worlds area to day. (talk) 23:18, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

It not the 4th largest economy just number 5 or 6. USA 1, Japan 2, China 3, Germany 4, France and UK, 5 and 6 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:20, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Article getting too big, time for a split?[edit]

I think the articles Historical powers in the ancient world, Historical powers in the medieval world, Historical powers in the modern world best reflect the current structure of this increasingly long article (and it's only going to get longer). Any thoughts about the moving/splitting procedure? (WP:SS for recommended splitting methods) Xaxafrad 02:59, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

We need to come up with guidelines from what has to be included as they are far too many nations that are included on the list. You are right that this page will need to be split because if we get any detail on most of the nations this page will be too big to broswe. However, we first need to figure out which nations should even be on here. Aussie King Pin 22:14, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

The more the merrier, IMO. (adding link to originating article (so I can research further, at a later time)) Xaxafrad 01:04, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
Wow, this thing is a big can of worms. So I take it we're co-opting a European term that was coined at the height of European colonialism, and NPOVing it? I don't feel the Great power article should include a long list of great powers, but perhaps just a short section on the greatest powers throughout the various ages, which will be getting their own in-depth articles shortly.
But then I think of other random readers coming across Great power and wanting to add or change their favorite power to the short list. Maybe, then, there should be no list at all, but just links to the full article. Xaxafrad 02:08, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

see below #split?. --J. D. Redding 10:53, 7 June 2011 (UTC)


Definition of a Historical Power[edit]

Someone needs to clarify what a "Historical Powers" are. The term is extremely vague, and judging from this article, many civilizations could fit its criteria. 24630 02:18, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

It's very vague and very difficult to provide sources for each and every power, I believe the article should move to something like List of historical great powers and then mention that it is an anachronism to call a power before 1815 a great power but this page nevertheless talks about powers that possessed such strength prior to 1815. Nobleeagle [TALK] [C] 03:35, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Definition of a "great power"[edit]

In the definitions of city-states, states, nations, and empires, one can spend a lot of time talking about the projection of power. In the transition between egalitarian hunting and gathering, to semi- and fully sendentary living, I think the greatest shift occurred when "power" over individuals changed from the elder of the extended family/tribe into the hands of an elite ruling over other families. This is all just definitions. I guess I'm only getting to the point where I ask what everybody else things the definitiary threshold is for the status of "great power". Rather than pure quantification, I think the threshold for inclusion should be the simple existence of a ruling political party (still a somewhat obscure term and accompanying definition). Or coming from the other direction, maybe outling some criteria for exclusion: archeological evidence alone does not make a state. Can literacy be used as a standard? I have a feeling there have been states and polities of marginal literacy, but I could be wrong (I hope I'm wrong).

Did that make any sense? Xaxafrad 04:52, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Is the "goal" of this article to differentiate between so-called organized, "civilized" societies and disorganized, "barbarian" societies? I'm sorry, I can't help but find the introductory sentence underwhelming. Xaxafrad 08:06, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Should the "Power in international relations" template be included on this article? I can't seem to be able to come to a decision on this one. Xaxafrad 03:25, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

i think this Article is evolving from the real historical powers to states that affected History, lots of powers are missing, and others should not be up their!!!


and why are the:

should not be there

i think this article has an Exaguration in the European History... it deletes several greater powers to include smaller states that where little to be called a power... i mean, for gods sake Republic of Venice was more like DHL today then a political, military, economic, social power... it just conquered a few islands and territories around the Adriatic Sea, on that scale we should make Bhutan a power!!!

as for [Kingdom of Castile]] and Kingdoms of Aragon , can someone please enlighten me!!! is it that much of sucess to defeat Arabs in Andalusia that it puts them as a HISTORICAL power...

and where is Napoleonic France??

i dont want to edit this article because im pretty sure people will delete my edits, i think this article should loos its Neutrelity --Arab League User 04:35, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Maybe include Denmark in the viking age too? It fulfills the criteria mentioned in the article. Krastain (talk) 03:36, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Republic of Venice was not a territorial empire but was a thalassocracy, a great economic and maritime power in the Mediterranean sea between 1204 (Fourth Crusade, conquest of Constantinople and 1/4 of Byzatine Empire) and 1645 (War of Candia)-- (talk) 15:54, 18 February 2008 (UTC). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:46, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

I think that you can be right in some ways, I would like this discussion page have on section for each and every power where the arguments for and against is status as an empire is presented. It would be much easier then to make real comparisions and delete those countries which claims to empires on too vague grounds. Awakened82 (talk) 21:56, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Swedish Empire[edit]

I'm sorry when i was adding about the Swedish empire i accidently took the picture away and stuff, maybe it's not so good to have the exact text about the Empire as in the Sweden text, but the other text before was also only copied from another article. Maybe some editing could be done so it differs a little bit from the other text. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:35, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

removing "Superpower" references for anything prior to the USSR and USA[edit]

This has been discussed elsewhere and settled by RfC after extensive discussion (e.g. see the talk pages related to Sparta). The conclusion was not to use the word "superpower" in regards to *any* ancient empires. To spare you reading through that talk page, here's the gist of it: Ancient empires were not able to be a Superpower in that they were not able to project military force on a global scale. The superpower notion post-dates WWII and was a way to distinguish the new phenomenon of the USA and USSR (from 1945 onwards) in contrast to the previous period of the Great Power (from roughly 1815 to WWII). Similarly, "ruling over the known world" is a related misnomer. Ancient empires ruled over what they ruled over, and may or may not have been aware of other empires far away. E.g. the incense trade routes are as old as 2000 BC, so certainly the Persians were aware of the Indies, but had absolutely no manner to project power. The Roman Republic was also co-terminus with the Persian Empire, but neither (at the time) had the ability to project force to the other. Even when Rome was able to project force to Arabia, that still did not constitute a Superpower. --Psm 18:39, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Just to clarify there were 3 not 2 super powers in world history "It was a term first applied in 1944 to the United States, the Soviet Union, and the British Empire. Following World War II, the British Empire ceased to exist as its territories became independent, and the Soviet Union and the United States were regarded as the only two superpowers, then engaged in the Cold War." thats all -- UKPhoenix79 (talk) 06:56, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Arab Empire or the Islamic Conquest[edit]

Although Arabs did conquer as far as India, non of the land was centrally controlled, nor part of any Empires. The Arabs at that time did not seek to make an Empire, but seeked to spread Islam. They had no intention to control, or form a system for the conquered land. The definition of Empire sadly can't be applied to the Islamic conquest, since there was no central ruler for the conquered land, but rather a central ruler for Islam and the Islamic army. Anyway, this a great example of how wikipedia misinforms poor students and readers, and any historian would in outset render the tagging of the Islamic conquest as an Empire a joke or a serious mistake. Please remove the "Empire" and use an appropriate word. -- (talk) 20:19, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Read the article on empire with special attention as to the heterogenous nature of their organization. The Berber Revolt and the response to it shows clearly it was very much an empire
The op lacks intelligence.--hnnvansier (talk) 05:56, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

False claim for Portuguese being first Global "Empire"[edit]

Portugal's trading posts down the West coast of Africa, at the time of the beginning of settlement and territorial expansion by Spain in the West Indies in the 1490s, was NOT an empire - it was a fortified TRADE NETWORK. To be an "empire" means ruling over substantial territories and populations and having the military muscle to enforce that rule - Portugal's West African forts (pre 1498} fails this test for "global empire" status (nearby Ceuta isn't sufficient). Actual substantial territorial expansion (not of just a few neighbouring villages around the trade forts!) by Portugal into the African hinterland, let alone Brazil, India and the far east, came in the Sixteenth Century - after the Spanish had already commenced expansion in the Carribean at the end of the Fifteenth. As for the confusion between "empire" and "emporia", understand that the talk of trade or economic "empires" is merely the metaphorical use of the idea of "empire"

Serbian Empire under the rule of Stefan Dušan?[edit]

shouldn't it be included? i've seen many "lesser"(no offense) states/countries listed here, but not this one... any specific reason? --PrimEviL 18:54, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Angevin Empire[edit]

Why is the most powerful country in Western Europe from 1100s-1300s not mentioned in this article? Signsolid (talk) 04:00, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

It is now anyway. Signsolid (talk) 04:59, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

"Such" empires? --PrimEviL 07:15, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes no offence to Serbia but it seems strange that empires of that historical significance are mentioned but mediaeval England's empire in the British Isles and France wasn't mentioned, an empire historically as well documented and significant as mediaeval France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Netherlands and Holy Roman Empire. Anyways it's finally listed now by me. Signsolid (talk) 20:10, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

1) You did make an offence. 2)Serbia is NOT mentioned in the article. 3)Italy never had the medieval power. Italy became united in the 19th century. There was no state prior to the Kingdom of Italy that could be considered "a power" on the peninsula. 4)I never said that there shouldn't be mentioning of British Empire.--PrimEviL 20:44, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
You took offence by me stating mediaeval Serbia was not as significant as mediaeval England yet you mention just above in the Serbia section on this talk page than many lesser states are included. Which states mentioned here are lesser than mediaeval Serbia and do you consider mediaeval Serbia to be as significant as mediaeval England? Signsolid (talk) 01:28, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

To the edit-warriors, please cease edit warring and discuss what differences you have here in order to come to consensus. Otherwise, you face to prospect of being blocked by breaking the 3RR. Thanks. Nirvana888 (talk) 16:51, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

My argument is that the current wording in the Angevin Empire section is misleading in the sense it makes readers believe France ruled England rather than England ruled France. It's a simple as that and hence the reverting as it's simply not acceptable to make it seem that the empire belonged to France rather than England. The wording must be changed to a NPOV in the sense of removing excessive reference to how French the empire and plantegenets were rather than stating they were foremost kings of England. Offerpoint (talk) 08:07, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

You cant just wait 1/2 an hour and say that people aren't talking. That Broke the WP:3RR rule. If your impatient you should go to the other user's talk page (User:The Ogre) and try to start a discussion. Work it out don't just revert. What you should be doing is keeping with the Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle. -- Phoenix (talk) 09:24, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
(talk) 16:18, 19 August 2008 (UTC) 

The dark side of Wikipedia[edit]

This article reflects the dark side of Wikipedia. This article is the purest form of POV and lacks fundamental rigor. The definition of historical power is absurd, and the list of empires is curious. This is a mess and should be removed or seriously reorganized. It would be nice to have a formal definition that can be unambiguously applied to historical evidence, or have a definitive list that some respected historical body produced.

It makes me sad to see Wikipedia articles like this.

--Harburg (talk) 03:47, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I do agree. Where are the Aztecs, the Mayans, or the Khmer empire, all of them important and historical powers that have left an important and everlasting legacy (unlike some of the examples on the article)? This is so devoid of serious information (most of the items on the list just redirect to another article) that is amazing that nobody has seriously reorganized this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:52, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Yea, seems like everyone added his countyyard here as a historical power... what a pity..--hnnvansier (talk) 05:55, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Good start[edit]

I think this is a very interesting article and can't wait to contribute. I think I get the gist of what constitues a historic power and so far agree with the listing. However I think its missing a couple. Before I begin adding, is it possible that we fine-tune what defines a great power of historic power? Scott Free (talk) 03:52, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Thats a very good idea Scott. I agree with you. First I would like to see a as clear definition as possibly of what requiers for a country to be an empire. Second I think it would be best if we concentrate on the facts that made it an empire when we write about the empire. To structure it up we can for example have a model for how we describe every empire, not so much focused on the years and rulers. I would like to see focus on: 1 total population estimation, 2 natural resources(eventual oversea colonies) and how it made an impact on its power, 3 about the military in the county, size, strategy and special advantages and militarytechnology 4 a timespan when the empire saw its powerzenit. 5 what was the major problems and how the collaps of the empire occured Awakened82 (talk) 02:07, 28 February 2009 (UTC)


While I hold no opinion on the future of this article, surely the USSR as the most recent great power to fall should hold its own section, or be merged with the section about the Russian Empire. YeshuaDavid (talk) 22:13, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

USSR was a Super Power just like US from about the end of WW2, so if USSR schould be added then shall US (talk) 14:54, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Only historical powers (PRE-1815); see Great Powers for post-1815.-- (talk) 22:47, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

As I mentioned in another thread, the U.S.S.R was never a super power "just like the U.S." At it's height it was dwarfed by the U.S. in all aspects (GDP, military technology, amount of land controlled, etc). If we include the U.S.S.R, we might as well include China and India(not to mention modern Russia) because those states are more powerful in every fact than the U.S.S.R ever was. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:25, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Sort order?[edit]

What is the idea behind the sort order? I see the main division on time periods: Ancient, Mediewal and Modern but within those 3 groups I see chaos. Should the names be sorted alphabetically altogether or by continents then alphabetically? Or chronologically within the group? Atm there is a total mess and it is difficult to find any information. Merewyn (talk) 16:05, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Seljuks, Huns and Japan[edit]

Where are those three? They were far more stronger than many of the countries listed here.--hnnvansier (talk) 05:54, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Holy Roman Empire[edit]

Forgive me if I'm missing some context, but I'm surprised not to see the Holy Roman Empire listed under medieval (and modern?) empires, as it was surely the strongest political and military empire in the western world from the 13th to 17th centuries. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:23, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

I'd say it was the most powerful state in western europe from the 10th to 12th century. Afterwards the territorial states in the empire began to rise and the kings/emperors hardly had any power over them.--MacX85 (talk) 21:52, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

African Empires[edit]

I think this article is missing some African Empires, especially the Songhay Empire and the Ethiopian Empire, which were very powerful and influential before the european conquest. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:18, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

United States[edit]

Why is it that one of the greatest powers in history is not mentioned here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by SwedishConqueror (talkcontribs) 23:59, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Only historical powers (PRE-1815); see Great Powers for post-1815.-- (talk) 22:47, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Historical Powers not Great Powers[edit]

Why are not historical the powers between the 19th and 20th centuries? Who decided that history ended in 1815 and after we have to refer only to the article about Great Powers? In fact the great powers article refers only to a specific group of powers, not to the historical powers in general as it is in the article we are talking about. So I added a section about the last two centuries with the historical powers in this period, if someone wants to argue, please I ask to explain his position well ---kayac71- (talk) 08:44, 1 October 2010 (UTC)


Why isn't France included among medieval powers ? France was the most populated kingdom in Europe bu far, the one with the biggest city (PAris = 200,000 inhabitants during the 13th century), a major cultural influence in christendom and certainly the strongest western European power from the 1210s to the 1340s. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:23, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Article tag[edit]

This article or section may contain previously unpublished synthesis of published material that conveys ideas not attributable to the original sources. Please list specific bulleted points to correct this. Otherwise the tag should be/will be removed. --J. D. Redding 10:45, 2 June 2011 (UTC)


The Ancient section needs to be split into a new article titled Ancient historical powers. --J. D. Redding 03:32, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

The Middle Ages section needs to be split into a new article titled Medieval historical powers --J. D. Redding 10:32, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Papal states - gone... (bold change)[edit]


I removed the whole section about the Papal states, because in *temporal* terms, they never amounted to a significant power (except perhaps for a brief spell in the 16th century and only then when acting in concert with other powers). The section I removed contained a lot of assertions about the Popes' spiritual power but I daresay this is largely irrelevant to the question of whether the Papal *states* were a major or minor power. By any historical measure, they were a third-rank power or so. Let them in and you'll have to add Milan and Florence to the list and perhaps Genoa (Venice and Naples do belong, in my opinion). Bazuz (talk) 10:28, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Just wanted to say, Genoa is in there already ... I don't think the papacy was a 3rd rank power, but on the fence on if they were a great power. I usually lean toward inclusion ... but there are plenty of more work on this article till get to the point that it needs to be re-included.
As to milan (Lombard League), it doesn't fit this article. And Florence was a autonomous medieval commune (a "real" 'city-state', but doesn't fit the article's scope either).--J. D. Redding 18:11, 8 June 2011 (UTC).

The notable thing would be "Papacy played a major temporal role in addition to its spiritual role." --J. D. Redding 10:47, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Which they didn't. Maybe as a buffer state during the Hapsburg-Valois wars and as a small nucleus of naval forces during the Lepanto-related campaigns. But not a major role, no way.
I understand that we are in agreement, right? Bazuz (talk) 13:47, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
"Throughout the Middle Ages the Pope claimed the right to depose the Catholic kings of Western Europe, and tried to exercise it, sometimes successfully". ... Church and state in medieval Europe.
Also keep in mind the Investiture Controversy.
Personally, I'm ambivalent to it ...
In the History of the papacy, Western Europe was for a time a group of states or countries under a single supreme authority (the pope) ... from a certain perspective (especially if juxtaposed with the caliphs of the Middle East). --J. D. Redding 15:00, 8 June 2011 (UTC) ps., they did help launch the first of the series of crusades, also.
Hi, I brought up Milan and Florence because usually Italy up to 1500 is thought to have been dominated by 5 powers: Venice, Florence, Milan, Naples and the Papal States. Now Venice and Naples had influence outside of Italy two so they get the pass but Florence and Milan do not, as you've said.
On a more general note - maybe we need a passages that explain the interactions between the states in each period? I feel that there is a layer of structure missing here. The article reads like an extended list and lacks coherence, imho. What do you think? Bazuz (talk) 19:04, 8 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes. A passages that explain the interactions in the scope of the article to add a deeper layer of structure is needed. I'm still adding images and doing some listing. Was going to look up a few old PD books about this and add that sort of content from them (for each of the periods, as I think that the nature changes over time). And it needs to be split into three separate articles: ancient, medieval, and modern (a tripartite periodization). Ancient and medieval summarized here and 'main'ed. Like I said above 'plenty of more work' to do. --J. D. Redding 19:36, 9 June 2011 (UTC)


Papal States[edit]
756 - 1870

The Papal States comprised those territories over which the Pope was the ruler in a civil as well as a spiritual sense before 1870. The plural Papal States is usually preferred; the singular Papal State is rather used for the modern State of Vatican City. By the Lateran Treaty of 1929, State of Vatican City was established.

The history of the Roman Catholic Church from apostolic times covers a period of nearly two thousand years, making it the world's oldest and largest institution. The office of the pope is called the Papacy. And the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the pope is called the Holy See or Apostolic See. The Papal States were formed around Rome in central Italy in the today regions of Lazio, Umbria, Marche and Emilia-Romagna, but also in a little portion of Provence (actual France) around the city of Avignon. During the Middle Ages the spiritual and civil authority of the Popes was far more extended over Europe, than the relatively small territories under their direct rule, the Papal States, that were the base of their power, in fact many kingdoms were vassals of the Holy See and the Popes were directly involved in the choosing of many Holy Roman Emperors. Usually the Popes were also involved as primary judges and counsellors in all the questions of marriage and succession regarding many kings. Particularly during the Late Middle Ages the Papacy played a major temporal role in addition to its spiritual role. The conflict between the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor was fundamentally a dispute over which of them was the leader of Christendom in secular matters. The success of the early crusades added greatly to the prestige of the Popes as secular leaders of Christendom, with monarchs like the Kings of England, France, and even the Emperor merely acting as Marshals for the popes and leading "their" armies

--J. D. Redding 10:30, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Various split proposals[edit]

I removed the split tags. This article has become so big that you cannot see the wood for the trees and splitting would not help. What would be typical for such an article would be a discussion about what is a historical power and then a list of examples. In each of the examples given, there is a separate article. For each one, a check needs to be made to ensure there is no data in this article that is not in the separate article and then the summary should be removed from this article. It may be worth having the dates and possibly some statistics if they are known for all of the members of the list. possibilities include %of the earth's surface under the power and % of population. Having the large summaries in this article and the separate articles is just a maintenance nightmare. Op47 (talk) 21:37, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Soviet Union?[edit]

I read this article and when I got to the end I realized that the Soviet Union was not listed. The USSR covered a vast amount of land area, and was perhaps the most powerful nation on Earth for portions of the 20th century. I could see the fact that it did not last as long as some other powers as a reason to exclude it, but the USSR changed human history. I see the USSR as analogous to Carthage, in the sense that although they were eventually overshadowed by their rivals they fundamentally shaped events enough to be considered especially significant. Thoughts? -- (unsigned comment by dated 7 March 2012)

The USSR isn't left out. It's listed listed together with the Russian Empire, which was pretty much the same power and the same people (only with a different government). That said, I wonder if "Russian Empire and after" could be renamed to "Russian Empire and USSR" since it was "USSR" for almost half the time period listed (and it was probably a greater power, on the world stage, as the USSR than as the Russian Empire). --- Why Not A Duck 21:08, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

The U.S.S.R was never anywhere close to being "the most powerful nation on Earth" at any point. At it's height, it had one tenth the GDP of the U.S, never had anywhere near the same level of military sophistication, and controlled a relatively small area given that the U.S de facto controlled almost the entirety of the rest of the world. I know this is not a forum, but I figured it's worth pointing out, as it's a myth that's all too often repeated. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:18, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

Should we add Kievan Rus'?[edit]

Should we add Kievan Rus'? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Constantinehuk (talkcontribs) 00:49, 13 October 2012 (UTC)



edit at 11.28 14 November does not look OK: has to be modified? PSuper48paul (talk) 11:53, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Can get a move to List of historical powers?[edit]

Can get a move to List of historical powers? --J. D. Redding 13:55, 27 June 2013 (UTC)


This page is too long to read and navigate comfortably; it is more than twice the recomended maximum size for an article. We should (for starters) split into List of ancient great powers and List of medieval great powers. tahc chat 15:58, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

I have no problem with your suggestion.--Navops47 (talk) 16:20, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
I have made this split. tahc chat 13:47, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Should Georgia be added?[edit]

The Kingdom of Georgia fits the definition of a great power (seeing as how its military was able to defeat the Byzantines and Seljuks, as well as dominate the Caucasus region), but I was unable to find any sources that specifically call it a great power. Despite this fact, should it be added? 21st of March, 2016, 23:52 (UTC+4) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:53, 21 March 2016 (UTC)

Ottoman Empire[edit]

How come there is no Ottoman Empire in this list? I am not a historian, but I believe the Ottoman Empire was one of the medieval great powers. Am I wrong? Thank you — Preceding unsigned comment added by TeteauLeGrande (talkcontribs) 21:48, 12 June 2017 (UTC)