Talk:List of largest empires

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Portuguese empire size[edit]

Hello. This is a topic that has brought conflict over the past few months with several users, especially between TompaDompa and I. What is the size of the Portuguese empire? The source that is used right now suggests that the Portuguese empire was at its height in 1820 with around 5.5 million km2. However this source is also including only fully controlled areas of Brazil at the time, even though the rest was Portuguese territory without question.

Now TompaDompa has compared this Portuguese territory with the British Antarctica territory, and how this territory isn't included either. however comparing the two territories are unreasonable since the BAT was officially formed in 1963, and in 1920 it was merely just a claim to the British empire, while the Portuguese interior territory was official (just not effectively controlled).

I'm also seeing problems with the size of the Brazilian empire. Right now its showing the size of the empire in 1889 with the measurements of the only official area census. However, it is clear that the empire was larger in 1824, when Brazil still had Uruguay. This means we would have to add the census of 1889 (8,363,186 km2) with the area of Uruguay (176,215 km2), which would give us a total area of 8,539,401 km2 (8.5) of the Brazilian empire in 1824.

Now we know that the size of Portuguese Brazil was 8,539,401 km2 in 1820. We know that Portugal had the coastal area of Angola so we'll add the areas of the provinces of Cabinda, Zaire, Bengo, Luanda, Cuanza Sul, Benguela, and Namibe which would give us an area of 233,705 km2. We know that Portugal had the Northern portion of Mozambique plus Maputo so we'll add the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Niassa, Zambezia, and Maputo city which will give us an area of 402,642 km2. We know that Portugal had East Timor, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, coastal Guinea-Bissau, and the Indian cities of Goa, Daman, and Diu which would give us an area of 42,624 km2. And we cant forget Portugal of course which is 92,212 km2.

This would give us a total area of 9,310,584 km2 (9.3) of the Portuguese empire in 1820 (and I haven't even included other coastal cities and the southern portion of Mozambique). So my point is that the sources used for Portugal and Brazil right now is unreliable, and doesn't meet the standards for this list. Something should be done. Empirecoins (talk) 17:17, 15 April 2018 (UTC)

No. Per WP:CALC, making such calculations is only okay if there is consensus among editors that the result of the calculation is obvious, correct, and a meaningful reflection of the sources. I dispute that that is the case. Rather, it is WP:Original research. TompaDompa (talk) 23:30, 15 April 2018 (UTC)
I was never saying that that's the number that should go onto the article. I got all the information off of other Wikipedia articles. I'm just trying to say that The empire of Brazil was wrong, and the Portuguese empire deserves 10th spot on the list, with a reliable source added, plus my own evidence research. Empirecoins (talk) 01:36, 16 April 2018 (UTC)
But you did add that figure for the Brazilian Empire. That's WP:Original research.
The problem (well, one of them) with using the 10.4 figure is that you're not comparing like figures when placing it in the list – the figures for the other entries do not include territory that is claimed but not controlled. We don't have to use that definition of the extent (though there is good reason to – the Aerican Empire would rank above the Brazilian Empire based solely on territory claimed), but we do have to be consistent in the definition we do use. TompaDompa (talk) 21:36, 16 April 2018 (UTC)
But colonial Brazil was not just claimed. I already told you this. It was an official Portuguese territory. Interior Brazil had states, and official treaties of the time gave Portugal official territory there like the Treaty of Madrid. Just look at the maps of colonial Brazil.[1] Empirecoins (talk) 22:43, 17 April 2018 (UTC)
Whether the claim was official/recognized is beside the point. The criterion used for this list is whether the territory was effectively controlled – de facto extent, not de jure extent. TompaDompa (talk) 06:17, 18 April 2018 (UTC)

In no where does the article say that that's the criterion, and no where did I read that the territory was just a claim. And the territory indeed was defacto.[2] Empirecoins (talk) 00:30, 20 April 2018 (UTC)

You're right, it doesn't say that on the article. That is, however, the criterion the chief sources (Taagepera and Turchin et al. – who in turn get their figures from Taagepera) use. Using a list necessitates comparable figures between entries; if the figures for the different entries cannot be directly compared, they don't belong on a list together.
Taagepera's article, the source providing the 5.5 Mm2 figure, does say that the rest of Brazil was not effectively controlled at the time. That's a scholarly source specifically about the territorial extent of historical polities. If you don't think that source and its figure should be used, you need a higher-quality source (or at least one of equal quality) to replace it. A book on 21st century geopolitics is not a higher-quality, more WP:RELIABLE source on the geographic extent of the Portuguese Empire at its peak. See WP:CONTEXTMATTERS: Information provided in passing by an otherwise reliable source that is not related to the principal topics of the publication may not be reliable; editors should cite sources focused on the topic at hand where possible.
The New World Encyclopedia article says New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards. at the bottom, and is as such not an acceptable source per WP:CIRCULAR. TompaDompa (talk)
How is it not high quality? It gets to the point of this article. Your source is just timelines of empires areas that doesn't even imply if those are their territorial peaks. some empires can be reliable like the Spanish as it says that at 1810 that was their peak size. But most of the empires dont even mention if that was their peak size. And he also can add any amount of area he wants to. For instance, Spain had ineffective control over territory in 1810, however it doesn't mention this because it was still their territory. In the Portuguese empire however, he decides to only add effective controlled territories as he mentions it in the timeline. So the data shown in the source is biased. Also, if we were using the data in your source for the Brazilian empire, then we'd only get an area of 5 million km2 since it only includes effectively controlled areas (even though the rest of the amazon territory was still theirs), and imply's that the rest of the territory wasn't effectively controlled until 1900, which is after the empire ended. Empirecoins (talk) 16:00, 28 April 2018 (UTC)
It is not a higher-quality (i.e. more WP:RELIABLE) source for the reason I stated above: per WP:CONTEXTMATTERS, Information provided in passing by an otherwise reliable source that is not related to the principal topics of the publication may not be reliable; editors should cite sources focused on the topic at hand where possible. That describes the situation with Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power. If you think that Taagepera's article is not a WP:RELIABLE source in this instance, the proper course of action is to either add a maintenance tag to that effect or remove it outright, not to add a different figure that isn't supported by a WP:RELIABLE source.
As for the area of the Empire of Brazil, that is a case where we have a different WP:RELIABLE source that provides a figure for a year between 1822 and 1900 (it's a pretty big leap in logic to infer from Taagepera's article that the rest of the territory wasn't effectively controlled until 1900 – a more reasonable interpretation would be that effective control of the rest of the territory was gradually attained between the two years, but we really shouldn't be making any assumption either way). TompaDompa (talk) 15:09, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
The problem is that I can't find another source that's more reliable then all the others I showed. I noticed all the other largest empire articles in other languages have a source saying 'Gordon (2005)' with no link. so I don't know where that came from or what it is, but it may be a solution if we find out what it means. Empirecoins (talk) 21:49, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
If "Gordon (2005)" refers to the source I think it does, it's WP:SELFPUBLISHed and therefore not WP:RELIABLE. And if there is no WP:RELIABLE source for the figure, then it fails Wikipedia's WP:Verifiability policy, which states that all material must be attributable to reliable, published sources. If the content doesn't meet the policy's requirements, the content is to be removed. TompaDompa (talk) 22:24, 4 June 2018 (UTC)
I have commented the entry out. Please don't undo this without a WP:RELIABLE source, per WP:BURDEN (The burden to demonstrate verifiability lies with the editor who adds or restores material, and is satisfied by providing an inline citation to a reliable source that directly supports the contribution.) TompaDompa (talk) 22:17, 13 July 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ Colonial Brazil (PDF). Cambridge University Press. p. 248, 251. Retrieved 17 April 2018. 
  2. ^ "Portuguese Empire:The wealth of Brazil (1640-1822)". New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20 April 2018. 

Is wrong Portugal empire was not 10.4 million km2 Sasan Hero (talk) 00:45, 22 September 2018 (UTC)

The United States[edit]

The US is 9.83 Million KM2 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:07, 4 May 2018 (UTC)

Inconsistency here: Either the USA is an empire for purposes of this article, or it is not. It is not on the list. And the article's wording indicates it is using Rein Taagepera's definition, which requires that the USA be sovereign and its components be non-sovereign -- so it does not belong on the list, unless all (large) sovereign federations meet the definition. Do they? (The WP link to US foreign policy does not appear to distinguish it from modern China or the USSR, neither of which is listed.) Jmacwiki (talk) 22:19, 6 May 2018 (UTC)

Whether the US should be included has been discussed as far back as 2006, and has been discussed many, many, many, many, many, many times since (non-exhaustive list of previous discussions). I'm not entirely sure (I haven't carefully read all of those discussions), but I believe that the exclusion of the US was based on WP:CONSENSUS among editors that it didn't belong. The current state of the article has a lot less text than it did a few years ago (I know because I removed a bunch of it). The scope (most importantly inclusion and exclusion criteria for entries on the list) has as far as I can tell never been clear. Even now, there is one description of what an "empire" is in the WP:LEAD and one example of what a WP:RELIABLE source counts as an "empire" in the body – and the two are quite clearly dissimilar. TompaDompa (talk) 23:51, 6 May 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. In that case, I won't try to edit for consistency. (I wasn't wading into an argument on the appropriate of inclusion -- of the USA or anyone else!) Is there any hope for acknowledgement of the murkiness, for the benefit of the reader? Jmacwiki (talk) 15:30, 8 May 2018 (UTC)
The ideal solution would probably be to expand the article with more definitions of "empire" in this context (i.e. not simply dictionary definitions, but ones used by scholars) besides Taagepera's. A simpler solution would be to change the WP:LEAD to agree with Taagepera's definition, but that would kind of constitute a change in scope for the list. TompaDompa (talk) 21:02, 8 May 2018 (UTC)
Puerto Rico is not sovereign. Guam is not sovereign. Does the Taagepera definition state all components be non-sovereign? Because there's a lot of items on the list that had sovereign and non-sovereign components (Qing dynasty for instance) - so I'd suggest that the US does meet the definition of an empire. Simonm223 (talk) 17:37, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
I understand this has been discussed a number of times, however the United States for at least some of its history would have fit this definition (e.g., colonial rule over Philippines, and more controversially after taking territory from Mexico during the Mexican war). The French colonial empire of 1920 is included here, at a time when France was a republic. The Portuguese empire of the 20th Centruy is also included, despite Portugal having been a republic at that time. There is no clear reason why the USSR and the PRC are excluded either. Nazi Germany might also be a candidate. EDIT: additionally, on reviewing the above discussions I see that in every case the consensus that the US was NOT an empire was based on the definition excluding republics. However, the definition has since changed so that a monarch is no longer a requirement. Therefore, as a bold edit, I propose adding it back in. FOARP (talk) 13:08, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
I wouldn't be opposed to adding the United States, personally. The Portuguese Empire of the 20th century should probably not be used as an example, as it was added only yesterday (by an edit-warring editor, which is why I've been reluctant to remove it) and doesn't meet the 2% threshold for inclusion in place for over 2 years. I think the main reason the USSR and PRC haven't been included is that they are essentially smaller continuations (as defined by Taagepera, the principal source for this list) of the Russian Empire and Qing Dynasty, respectively. Nazi Germany would of course also be a candidate, but I suspect finding a WP:RELIABLE source for the area might be difficult (it was for the Empire of Japan, which I added yesterday). TompaDompa (talk) 19:23, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
I don't oppose the United states, but I think we would need to rename the article to be "Largest Polities", or something like that. I don't want to get into edit warring over whether the United States is "an empire". For the record, I do not and that view is supported by other "empire" articles at Wikipedia. In any case, debating that would be counterproductive to the purpose of this article. I also think we would have to add Canada as well, no? -- Work permit (talk) 19:46, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
Also Australia, India, and replacing the Empire of Brazil with the modern-day (larger) Brazil. TompaDompa (talk) 19:50, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
Modern day Brazil isn't larger than that. That is the value for today's Brazil there. Please read the sources more carefully. It's time we end this misconception that Brazil somehow increased or even 'doubled' its size. That is false. Thanks--Ppteles (talk) 14:10, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Brazil is 8.51 million square kilometers. The Empire of Brazil was 8.337 million square kilometers per the source cited in the table (which you should know, since you were the one who made that edit back in 2016). TompaDompa (talk) 14:35, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I also agree with the inclusion of the USA, and any other current country which meets the 2% (for now, until we find a consensus about a new criteria of inclusion). However, as Work permit said, the article should be moved in order to change the title, since countries like the USA, Australia, Brazil or India are not empires. Cheers.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 21:24, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
What should it be moved to? The benefits of the current title is that "empire" is understood by most people (unlike "polity", for instance) and that the reader will likely expect it to contain historical extents (unlike for instance "List of largest sovereign states", which one might expect to cover current extents). The new title should retain both those qualities. TompaDompa (talk) 21:53, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
It could be for example something like "List of largest past and present countries", thoughts ?---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 22:50, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
It's a bit unwieldy, and I hesitate to refer to quite a few of the entries as "countries". Perhaps "Largest sovereign states in history"? TompaDompa (talk) 23:06, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
That can work for me, though I'm not a historian and don't understand the nuance of "sovereign". If we include in the lead this means "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.", something along those lines. I would hate to get into a edit war on whether the the individual states of the unites states are or were ever "sovereign". You wouldn't believe the passion of some about the "sovereignty" of the individual states in the US. -- Work permit (talk) 00:26, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Should we start a new discussion section? I assume this means an article move? -- Work permit (talk) 02:44, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
"Largest polities" might be a good move - if we assume there is a clear definition of the term "polity". Is there? The problem with this page has always been the shifting definition of "Empire", which both has and has not included republics, kingdoms (which are not the same as empires), and was any to a large extent simply arbitrary and based on original research. FOARP (talk) 08:39, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
"Largest sovereign states in history" is ok for me. @Work permit: Yes, we should start a new thread according to me.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 09:03, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

"I also agree with the inclusion of the USA, and any other current country which meets the 2%" Few current countries would qualify by this criterion: Russia (1st), Canada (2nd), China (3rd), United States (4th), Brazil (5th), Australia (6th), and India (7th). Argentina is the largest of the excluded countries, and most of the others are way too small in area size. See: List of countries and dependencies by area. Dimadick (talk) 09:40, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

I am in total disagree with all these suggestions. I was shocked to come to this article 2 days later and find it in a total chaos mess. This page is only meant for LARGEST EMPIRES not modern nation-states. If anyone wants an article for that then go to List of countries and dependencies by area, or make a separate article for the "Largest sovereign states in history" like Wikaviani mentioned. Why are we just invading this article and lumping our desires into it? Empirecoins (talk) 21:34, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Can you come up with a clear, stable definition of "Empire" that excludes "modern nation-states" (um, some of which are ruled by emperors and/or govern colonial territories...), that is reliably sourced external to Wiki? Because that's the issue here. The only definition that has been proffered is Taagapera's, which does not exclude the US. Essentially you are insisting that this list conform to your conception of what an "empire" is without showing any reason why it should do so.FOARP (talk) 12:14, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
Ok, well Taagapera's definition would not include modern nation-states like Canada, India, Australia, etc. And if anybody wants to find a definition then just pick up a dictionary. The Penguin English Dictionary 2nd Edition defines an empire as "A large group of countries or peoples under the authority of a single ruler of state." So with that definition we can say that we exclude any nation that didn't/doesn't have foreign control of land that's over 2-3 million km2, which would exclude USA since their foreign components were just over 300,000 km2. I'm not saying that's what we should exactly do, I'm just making a point that theirs many different scenarios that can happen for the future of this article. Empirecoins (talk) 14:09, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
That threshold on foreign controlled lands is WP:OR. In addition, while a dictionary may be a reliable source, we shouldn't be using a dictionary definition as the sole reliable source when there is a difference of opinion on how a word is defined. Again, as I have done several times, I'd point to Empire where there is a reliably sourced definition. Simonm223 (talk) 14:25, 14 September 2018 (UTC)

Cuman-Kipchak Confederation[edit]

Someone else brought it up before [1] back in 2014, but didn't receive any responses. Any thoughts about this? It was certainly one of the largest empires during its day. DA1 (talk) 03:15, 27 July 2018 (UTC)

Well, we'd need a WP:Reliable source saying how big the maximum extent was and which year it occurred. TompaDompa (talk) 03:32, 27 July 2018 (UTC)

Sortable table[edit]

I personally would like to see the table sortable. I’ve read the discussion archives regarding a sortable table, and know another editor disagrees. To quote the last discussion “The table was intentionally not sortable. There were several reasons for this." One reason was: "There's no need to have the names of the empires sortable alphabetically,...”. I believe it would be useful to sort the names of the empires alphabetically. This makes it easier to find a specific empire, as well as confirm certain empires (e.g. portugal) are not included. It was also argued that “sorting by year of greatest extent gets kind of misleading – the empire in question wasn't necessarily the biggest empire in the world that year just because it was the year it was the biggest“. While I understand that looking at the exact date may be misleading, looking at empires by era would be helpful to find groups of empires in antiquity, or groups in more modern times. The last views were expressed by only one editor. I would like to know what other editors think.

Here is what the two look like: Sortable vrs Nonsortable table. Work permit (talk) 23:21, 29 July 2018 (UTC)

I’ve changed the table to be sorted. Lets discuss if you disagree. Work permit (talk) 05:54, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

I stand by the reasons I gave back in 2017. The problem with the chronological sorting is somewhat ameliorated by my recent addition of a timeline of the largest empires to date, but I don't think there's any benefit to having it sortable by year. There already are lists of historical empires sorted alphabetically and by year: list of empires and the lists of sovereign states by year, respectively. This list is designed to be sorted by area by its very nature. TompaDompa (talk) 06:58, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
I understand we disagree about the benefit. You, as an editor find there is no benefit. While I am aware of the other lists I do, as an editor, find it useful and have used it in the way I mentioned. Do you think there is any harm? Work permit (talk) 00:01, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
Yes. Like I said, I think it gets misleading. TompaDompa (talk) 06:10, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. I’ll ask for a third opinion. Work permit (talk) 11:23, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
3rd Opinion – Second-guessing how Wikipedia users want to read or organize the information they find here is a mistake. Users should have the ability to make their own decisions; in this case through the use of a sortable table which enhances the article. For the record, I have never edited this article, read it in the past, nor do I know either of the editors involved. Veritycheck✔️ (talk) 12:27, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
4th Opinion – I took a look through the archives (April 2017, October 2010) and earlier versions had more columns of data so a sortable table may have made more sense then. Nonetheless, I can envision readers wanting to sort by name (to help find an empire, particularly if they don't know its precise name) or by year of peak size. (Or other factors like region.) A sort can also help in finding data in a large table which doesn't display at once on a typical monitor.
On the other hand, I get that this is a list by size. The year is almost like a footnote for when the empire reached that peak size and may not be historically significant. The list should definitely be ordered by size as the default when the page loads. However, I'm not quite convinced about the peak-year data being misleading. If it's misleading, isn't it misleading whether or not it's sorted? Perhaps it should be clarified ("Year at peak"?) or removed altogether?
I thought it might help to change the headers like this:
Empire Maximum land area
million km2 million mi2 % of world Year
Empires by maximum land area
Empire million km2 million mi2 % of world Year
Also, per summary style, I feel that the smaller table, "Timeline of largest empires to date", should go above the larger table. This gives a better introduction to the data and might help alleviate some of the potential confusion. If you decide to go sortable, please discuss any {{Hidden sort key}}s (e.g.: should Second French colonial empire be sorted under S or F?). – Reidgreg (talk) 14:15, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
@Reidgreg: I don't see why the peak year would be misleading when it isn't sorted by year. The reason it's misleading when sorted by year is that the list then has the appearance of being a timeline without actually being one. TompaDompa (talk) 15:25, 1 August 2018 (UTC)
I've implemented the idea of using headers. I agree it makes for a better table. I also introduced a "break" on the Portuguese controversy numbers. Personally I would delete the second set of numbers for the reasons discussed in the previous section. Work permit (talk) 17:25, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
Very well, I removed the second set. TompaDompa (talk) 18:06, 19 August 2018 (UTC)
Thank you. Perhaps we should reference the portuguese number in a footnote, just so that we don’t have to have debates about it being in the main table? Work permit (talk) 20:21, 19 August 2018 (UTC)

Chinese dynasties[edit]

Looking through the list as it is now, it seems that the convention is to exclude modern nation states such as the United States, Canada, China, or the USSR or Russia, due to them being "not empires", despite their land area being larger than many of the empires on the list. This is consistent with the line in the introduction defining empires as "political entities that have acquired a significant part of their territory by conquest". I argue that by this convention, the Chinese dynasties (with the possible exception of the Qing Dynasty being defined as the "Manchu Empire") do not belong either, since their large size is simply due to the large size of China. Most of their territory was inherited from predecessor states rather than obtained through conquest. Imperial China was simply a "large country" as modern China, or the US or Russia is.

If the goal is to have consistent inclusion criteria, I think it makes more sense to include modern countries like the US and India than to exclude earlier polities. TompaDompa (talk) 21:18, 23 August 2018 (UTC)
I don’t have a burning desire for this. But if consensus was we should, I think the best way would be to expand the definition to something like “empires and nation states”. Do the main sources this article uses like Taagepera or Turchin discuss modern states? If not, we would need to just assume modern states control all the lands they claim. Finally, for consistency with other entries would we need seperate entries for the pre-mao Republic of China and post-mao Peoples Republic of China? Work permit (talk) 15:40, 24 August 2018 (UTC)
Taagepera has entries for the US, Canada, Australia, and India, among others. Taagepera also considers the PRC a continuation of the Qing dynasty (which is referred to as "Manchu"). TompaDompa (talk) 16:11, 24 August 2018 (UTC)
Readers may be confused by calling the PRC the Qing dynasty. We may want to incorporate footnotes in the table highlighting this. Work permit (talk) 17:21, 24 August 2018 (UTC)

Removed tag[edit]

I removed the tag, added an explanation for methodolgy used by sources to calacuate area in the list, and added a footnote in the table explaining “why is Portuguese empire so small”. We can add more footnotes in other empires if this isn’t clear. I suggest if editors what to use some other methodology, such as “ what is the biggest amount an empire sclaimed”, we just create a seperate table.Work permit (talk) 05:51, 26 August 2018 (UTC)

I think "area claimed" is a terrible way to do it. The Aerican Empire claims the northern hemisphere of Pluto. TompaDompa (talk) 11:50, 26 August 2018 (UTC)
I agree. I prefer not to see such numbers at all. Work permit (talk) 15:11, 26 August 2018 (UTC)

Please stop vandalizing this page[edit]

This has been already the subject of thousands upon tousands of pages of endless discussions, in which people who clearly are ignorant of History and base their assumptions on a book which is markedly wrong, to write something which is wrong. Please stop vandalizing this page by claiming that Portugal did not control the whole of Brazil. This is against History. Portugal founded cities in the Entire land that it controlled in Brazil. It is almost even impossible to try to figure out what goes through your heads in thinking that Brazil 'automatically' gained control of these lands the minute it got independent. I have a word for that in fact - PREJUDICE. Please reado more about the Histories of both Portugal and Brazil before coming here and vandalizing this page. Just in case you dont understand this is what actual historians say: "Brazil (Portuguese Brazilian) by Peter Frey and Jorg Muller, page 92 , quote "the Portuguese possession ultimately covered a surface of 8,500,000 km2"" (ref 6). Thank youPpteles (talk) 00:35, 5 September 2018 (UTC)

You are quoting from a book by an anthropologist. I assume that is who Peter Fry is. Can you tell me who Jurg Muller is, and what his academic training is? I have no idea how reputable the book is that you cited. I do know the other sources cited are from peer reviewed journal articles. Can you cite sources from peer reviewed scholarly articles specifically analyzing what areas were controlled by Portugal and other empires? As an aside, please stop attacking editors. I personally don't see how it is "prejudiced" to rely on scholarly peer reviewed articles.Work permit (talk) 03:05, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
SO what if he is an anthropologist, that is an argument of authority (magister dixit). What is important is the information on the book. Peer review is an important process in the analysis of scientific, and not so scientific, work. The work of Taagepera is an example of the failure of such a system to detect factually wrong information. Look, it is factually wrong to say that Portugal did not control the whole of Brazil. No matter how many peer reviewed papers are published on it. Also I sourced everything with some of the most prominent English-speaking historical authorities on Colonial Brazil, just to get those sources deleted. Ppteles (talk) 20:43, 6 September 2018 (UTC)

Before you delete my comments again, or move this section to the top of the talk page, please read Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines. The basic rule—with some specific exceptions—is that you should not edit or delete the comments of other editors without their permission. And new sections on the talk page go on the bottom, not the top. Thank you. Work permit (talk) 15:58, 5 September 2018 (UTC)

I did not delete your comments.Ppteles (talk) 20:41, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
@Ppteles: Yes, you did. TompaDompa (talk) 20:45, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
Well, if I did I didn't even notice it. Ppteles (talk) 20:51, 6 September 2018 (UTC)

Is this an article about Taagepera or a list of the largest empires[edit]

Look, I get it. This scholar Taagepera got it wrong about Portugal. He probably only considered the second Portuguese colonial Empire which did not include Brazil. I don't know. The truth of the matter is, this isn't an article about him, it's an article about the largest Empires in History. And it is unhistorical and unethical to say things such as 'Portugal didn't control the whole of Brazil', and then delete all the sources that show otherwise claiming that they are unreliable, because it doesn't fit your world view. First, because it is not true that these sources are unreliable because they do not mention this topic. So many other sources would fall in a similar category, including those of Taagepera, who doesn't really talk about empire sizes all that much - it's a geopolitical analysis of Empires in the scope of Russian expansion especially towards the Baltic nations, of which his is a citizen. Second, if you have some kind of prejudice which doesn't allow you to see the truth, to the point that you have to delete all the source that show this as fact, then please stop 'vandalizing' this page (which you are, in a broader sense', and contribute to wikipedia in a positive way. When an article in wikipedia makes a false, unhistorical claim, such as a claim 'that Portugal did not control the whole of Brazil9, you are contributing for the spread of false information, which is ethically and scientifically wrong. So please stop doing that. And no, the 'consensus' is not that Portugal did NOT control the whole of Brazil - even if it were, it would be factually wrong, as per the sources given. Please stop. And also, please do not delete my comments. Ppteles (talk) 20:36, 6 September 2018 (UTC)

Who deleted your comments? I did two edits, here [2] ,and here [3]. In neither case did I delete your comment, nor do I see anyone else who did. Work permit (talk) 22:20, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
I have to admit, my concerns about the article notwithstanding, I'm honestly curious about how this page became so fixed on the work of a single political scientist. Yes, he does work on empires, some sources of his may be relevant. He's cited once at Empire and not in the section on definition. There's a preponderance of sources here. My original bemusement at WP:RS/N was because I couldn't believe that in a field as widely studied as empires there wouldn't be a diverse selection of high-quality academic sources to choose from. And yet, every discussion on this talk page either boils down to, "we aren't doing that because it doesn't match Taagepera's definition," or alternatively, "Taagepera is a crank," and neither of those is really a useful way to construct an article. Simonm223 (talk) 19:05, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
And whenever anyone edits this page with info that discredits the works of Taagepera, it seems to be almost immediately reverted. Ppteles (talk) 19:32, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I have raised concerns over what I believe may be an attempt at WP: Pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Also, that the table as it is, may as well be a Frankenstein, based on a fringe theory. Example of 'pulling the rabbit'. Source A (Taagepera) who is clearly the preferred source says that the Portuguese empire was only 5.5 million km2 in its maximum extent. Therefore this means that Portugal did 'not control' the entirety of Brazil (this was said without any source whatsoever until I vehemently objected to it). Also the 'threshold'. Why a threshold? It is a list of empires at their maximum extent. Just the purpose of defining a threshold constitutes original research, clearly. Ppteles (talk) 19:43, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
This is your interpretation of the course of events, obviously, it's not mine. Also, to answer to your comment " Why a threshold? It is a list of empires at their maximum extent. Just the purpose of defining a threshold constitutes original research", we need a threshold for inclusion, otherwise, we'll have to include any country in the list. I think that criticizing is good, but proposing solutions is better. there is a simple solution to avoid original research : for example by saying in the lead something like "this list includes countries with more than 3000000 km² at their greatest extent", just an example.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 20:50, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
@Simonm223: A good guess as to why the page cites Taagepera so much is that finding WP:RELIABLE sources for the historical extents of empires is fairly difficult, and Taagepera provides values for a large number of them. I would give the same reason as to why Turchin et al. is cited so much. I'd also like to note that there are several entries where Taagepera's values aren't used, even though they could be – Turchin et al. is used for the Maurya Empire, Khazar Khanate, and Gupta Empire. TompaDompa (talk) 05:09, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
So, basically, it is ok to use values for empires from other sources. Because for a while it seemed that you disagreed with that. ThanksPpteles (talk) 09:38, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
I have disagreed with the use of specific sources, but as my track record shows (with for instance my 2016 addition of the Italian Empire and my recent addition of the Empire of Japan) I'm not opposed to using all other sources. TompaDompa (talk) 13:10, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
I am ok with that, although I have been in disagreement with you over the sources you deem reliable or unreliable. I think, again, and a persistent criticism that is made to this page of which you've likely become the largest contributor, one should systematise the sources and the way they're presented, and hence why I believe each reference should be given a different column. Otherwise we're simply building the Frankenstein.Ppteles (talk) 13:17, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
@TompaDompa: btw, your value for the Empire of Japan seems rather off too - it seems to be covering sea areas. Other sources used on wiki give a much smaller value for the Empire of Japan. I would be inclined to use the much smaller value used on that wiki page.--Ppteles (talk) 13:27, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
I think the reason for the large discrepancy between the values on the Empire of Japan article and this one is more likely to be that the Empire of Japan expanded a lot between 1938 and 1942. TompaDompa (talk) 13:31, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
Looking at a map of the Japanese Empire at its maximum extent, it seems rather obvious that it was never that big. Is the figure you provide reproducible in any other work? Ppteles (talk) 13:33, 14 September 2018 (UTC)

If you revert this to the previous edition with factually wrong information, I must say that I give up[edit]

When I was told that in the US now people accepted the spread of false information, I didn't think the problem was this big, or that they would accept a factually wrong, unhistorical sentence to be put on an article, without that being even referenced. Please stop this.Ppteles (talk) 20:51, 6 September 2018 (UTC)

Just as an example, how can you claim that Portugal didn't control the whole of Brazil, if there was a war of independence in the very state that you claim Portugal didn't control? What happens to historians looking for accurate, historical information if they stumble across this page? How can you tell them that there was a war of Independence fought against a power that did not actually control the very thing they wanted independence from? Ppteles (talk) 21:03, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
 :@Ppteles: Could you please tell me the page of the source (Zbigniew Brzezinski, who is not a historian anyway) which supports te 10400000 km² ?---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 21:06, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
These were the sources I put, the page of Zbigniew Brezinsky is pages 22-23, there is a table with a list of the largest empires[1][unreliable source?][2][3][4]
By the way this is Leslie_Bethell, this is A. J. R. Russell-Wood, clearly authorative figures on Colonial Brazil.
@Wikaviani:Sorry the page for Zbigniew Brezinsky is page 10, I was looking at a pdf which mixed the pages.Ppteles (talk) 21:18, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
The first source supports your claim (10.4 millions km²) but is not a historical source, since Zbigniew Brzezinski does not appear to be a historian, rather a diplomat and political scientist. the others don't support the claim (as far i can see).---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 21:37, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
More to the point, the first source fails WP:RSCONTEXT, which says Information provided in passing by an otherwise reliable source that is not related to the principal topics of the publication may not be reliable; editors should cite sources focused on the topic at hand where possible. The principal topic of the book is 21st century geopolitics, not the territorial extents of historical polities. The table the figure in question comes from is the sole mention of the latter in the entire book, as far as I can tell. TompaDompa (talk) 21:55, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
@Wikaviani: Taagepera isn't a historian either, and the focus of his work isn't history either. If you want to dig deeper, what were his sources, to make the claim that Portugal didn't control some parts of Brazil? This is factually wrong! I challenge you to cite me any source that says this by any Brazilian historian! In fact, as demonstrated by the sources I mention, they show the fact rather well. The claim of TompaDompa, who seems to take Taagepera's word as God given, is that Portugal didn't control the whole of Brazil - this is completely destroyed by facts - not only the historical Atlas (official in Brazil) which shows the territorial expansion of the country, as well as the book of Leslie Bethell which shows all the areas claimed by TompaDompa not to have been controlled by the Portuguese showing not only the borders negotiated with Spain in the Treaties of Madrid, and the two Ildefonso treaties, as it also shows the forts built around those borders to enforce them. Finally one last note, to say that the source is not reliable is different from saying that it 'may' (stress on 'may'!) not be reliable - then most sources here, including those of Taagepera himself aren't reliable either because most of them are not fully dedicated to the topic at hand. Just a quick look reveals that! Also, the list fails to show the Second Portuguese Colonial Empire which had a land mass of circa 3 000 000 km^2 (Angola+Mozambique+Portugal+etc) in 1974 Ppteles (talk) 01:21, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── "Taagepera isn't a historian either" : wrong, i quote : "Professor Taagepera has also constructed and tested models for arms races, increase in world population, growth of historical empires, and dependence of foreign trade on population of the country. He has written books on contemporary Baltic history and the Finno-Ugric republics within the Russian Federation". Therefore, this source is more reliable than Zbigniew Brzezinski for this topic. Also, per WP:OSE, you can not use the fact that, as elsewhere, non-historical sources are used for topics related to history, so we can do the same here.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 11:13, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

Excuse me, I fail to see where it says he is a historian? He may have written about history, but so has Brzezinski. Also, I posted two books written by some of the foremost English-speaking authorities on colonial Brazil. And this is besides the point. It is factually wrong. Taagepera got it wrong. Otherwise the burden of proof falls on you if you're going to have a tag saying 'Portugal did not control the whole of Brazil'. How do you prove that? How do you demonstrate something which is false? Ppteles (talk) 13:10, 7 September 2018 (UTC)
If you insist on having Taagepera's *wrong* data, I propose a solomonic solution - we build two separate tables, one with Taagepera's data, and one with Brzezinski's. Neither one of these authors is a historian, in fact, both seem to work in the same area of geopolitics. In Taagepera's data, you should add a caveat saying that the value for the Portuguese Empire doesn't take into account the whole of the Brazilian territory, which is historically inaccurate.Ppteles (talk) 13:18, 7 September 2018 (UTC)
@Ppteles: Well, i would suggest you to take a look at the link i provided, it's said : "Research Abstract", not only "he has written about history". Your behavior, claiming that "the source got it wrong" and "this fact is wrong" is more and more WP:JUSTDONTLIKEIT in my eyes. I advise you to provide reliable sources for your edit, if you can't, then just drop the stick before being blocked for edit warring.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 19:34, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Work permit: @TompaDompa: @Ppteles: I dug a little on the web trying to clarify this issue. It seems that Ppteles is not totally wrong when he claims that all of Brazil was part of the Portuguese Empire. Please take a look at this. I quote from page 501 : "During the colonial period, from 1500 to 1822, all of Brazil, including Rio, was part of the Portuguese Empire". This source is written by Rosana Barbosa Nunes, a specialist of this topic. I would suggest to balance the article with this new input. Ppteles, i owe you an appology for my above comment.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 11:19, 8 September 2018 (UTC)

I don't think it was ever in question that the Portuguese Empire claimed all of Brazil. The dispute is about whether they controlled all the area they claimed (which is what we use for all the other entries on the list). We could of course add something about the Portuguese Empire claiming all of Brazil to the note at the bottom of the table which currently says that they didn't control all of it, but I doubt that would be to everyone's satisfaction. TompaDompa (talk) 11:27, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
Hmmm ... i don't agree, i would go by what the source says, actually, it seems that there is little doubt about the fact that Brazil was part of the Potuguese Empire, this source is by far more specialized than Taagepera for this topic.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 11:34, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
I have to say I find taking that source at face value extremely dubious – the Portuguese Empire did not control all of Brazil starting in the year 1500 (for a variety of reasons: penetration inland from the coasts took quite some time, some would say that there was de facto no Portuguese Empire during the Iberian Union, and then there's the issue of Dutch Brazil). Also, that source doesn't provide a figure. How do you suggest we balance the article with this new input? TompaDompa (talk) 11:58, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
Would like to have Work permit's opinion (since i already know Ppteles' opinion ...).---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 11:37, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
What you are saying is not true, and it is also not relevant. In 1815 Portugal controlled the entirety of Brazil. I challenge you to prove otherwise? Of course since 1500 Portugal didn't control the entirety of Brazil but that is true for all other empires and goes against the very methodology you so praisePpteles (talk) 20:50, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
The purpose of this article is to list the sizes of various empires throughout history. Implicit in this is that there is a common way to measure them. Regarding the strength of the various sources we could use, Taagepera is unique because his series of papers specifically compares the relative sizes of different empires throughout history. His research leads him to state Portugal controlled roughly the coastal half of Brazil ( and the coastal quarter of Angola and Mozambique) at the time of Brazil's independence. He is consistent with this analysis, since he finds the independent empire of Brazil was roughly half the size it was in 1900, by which time his research indicates Brazil controlled all the land we are discussing. He was certainly aware of the entirety of Brazil's claims, so this is not just some oversight. If asked to speculate on why this is the case, I'll just observe that alot happened in Brazil between 1822 and 1900. For example, there was the Amazon rubber boom which resulted in a resulted in a large expansion of colonization into the entire Amazon basin. So I do understand how this is possible.
I was planning on looking into more sources and see if there is a counterexample, but haven't had the time. I have looked for the primary source behind's Taagepera research on Brazil. Unfortunately his paper references two sources in a table but does not provide information on what one of those sources are. At the moment, I suspect the issue may be about control of the Amazon Basin, which was considered "uninhabited" in 1822. Work permit (talk) 15:34, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
Excuse me, can you give me any evidence of your claim that the Amazon Basin was considered "unhinabited" in 1822? This is an outright lie. Have you even checked the sources? This is madness - you are going against the evidence of established historians on the matter, based on unsourced claimsPpteles (talk) 20:50, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
Sorry for the delay responding, i was away from my computers. It's ok to wait a moment in order to let people make some additional research ( i also need some time since i'm quite busy for now ). Let's just wait to be able to check more sources before to come back here. Cheers.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 17:09, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
Dear Wikaviani, this is madness, there are several claims here which are not at all sourced. 1) that the amazon basin was considered unhinhabited in 1822 2) That the Empire of Brazil was roughly 'half the size in 1900' (this is even worse madness, since the Empire ended in 1889) 3) That the Amazon Basil was only colonized in the rubber boom. All these things are outright lies and completely uhnistorical. Please disregard these claims.Ppteles (talk) 20:54, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
I've been busy as well. Will take some time to find sources, one way or the other. But I think it's worth it to get this right. Thanks Work permit (talk) 20:58, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
@Work permit: What do you call this city, for you this city is non existant is that what you claim? Please, I'd really like to understand.Ppteles (talk) 21:18, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
What about this fort, what is it? And this one? And this city? All fabricated lies I suppose? Ppteles (talk) 21:26, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
Seriously, so we're all going to ignore these completely perfect sources here [1][unreliable source?][2][3][4]Ppteles (talk) 21:09, 8 September 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Wikaviani: Could you please explain to me how a claim that someone wrote something about "history" makes that person a "historian"? Brzezinski also wrote about history (just think about that table) in his books on geopolitics. I really fail to see how you claim that my sources are poor, and I'd truly enjoy reading an explanation. Also, because it seems my two other sources, which despite not providing figures, present the case pretty well, are being ignored by you and the others. Please, let's be reasonable, it seems there is a lot of prejudiced (preformed if you dislike this word) ideas about the States of Amazonas and Pará, where I live 6 out of 12 months of my life. This is one of the oldest regions in the whole of Brazil and was colonized since the 16th century. It is false to claim that there was no colonization. The Amazon basin has many forts around built by the early colonizers, and there were a lot of missions, there was even a war fought between two different missionary missions. Also one of Brazil's foremost humanists Priest Antonio Vieira travelled throughout the Amazon (part of the Portuguese Empire) around the years 1600 already. Also this is one of the first states that fought against the Portuguese colonizers, in what is known as the cabanagem. These citizens came from all throughout the Amazon basin to fight against the Portuguese, which were seen as oppressors. Ppteles (talk) 21:49, 8 September 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b Brzezinski, Zbigniew (2012). Strategic vision : America and the crisis of global power (PDF). New York: Basic Books. ISBN 9780465029556. OCLC 787847809. 
  2. ^ a b Russell-Wood, A.J.R. (1998). The Portuguese Empire, 1415-1808: A World on the Move. Massachussets: Carcanet Press Limited. p. 201. ISBN 9780801859557. Portuguese America [...] whose territorial extent rivalled that of China 
  3. ^ a b Bethell, Leslie (1987). Colonial Brazil (PDF). Cambridge England: Cambridge University Press. p. 397. ISBN 9780521341271. On page 251 a map showing the northern and western defensive systems of Amazonia and the Mato Grosso state together with a map of Brazil after the Treaty of Madrid (1750) is shown 
  4. ^ a b Albuquerque, Manuel Maurício de (1977). Atlas histórico-escolar do Ministério da Educação (in Portuguese) (PDF). Rio de Janeiro: Ministério da Educação do Brasil (Brazilian Education Ministry). p. 161. On page 25 a territorial extension history of Brazil is shown 

Completely unhistorical, shocking claims[edit]

Whoever is controlling this article on wikipedia, seems to make completely unhistorical, even shocking claims, and I challenge their ability to edit this article based on what is written above. From what they wrote above, they seem to lack the basic historical skills to be in control of this article, not allowing edits for improvement. Please note the claims that are made:

  • That "the Amazon Basin was unhinhabited in 1822". Perhaps they do not know what the State of Grão-Pará and Maranhão was ?
  • That "independent empire of Brazil was roughly half the size it was in 1900" this is even more hilarious. Brazil's borders and size were pretty much unchanged since the treaty of Santo Ildefonso. How can these claims be made unchallenged? The worse thing is that I have presented sources that have been called poor, made by two of the foremost English-speaking historians in colonial Brazil that explain all this.
  • That the Amazon basin was only colonized since the rubber boom. What happened to all the cities that were founded before them then? See example here, and here Is this some kind of joke?

Please wikipedia demands seriousness, we live in times where we cannot allow the spread of false information such as this. I demand someone, admins, whatever, to come here and see what is going on. This is very dangerous.Ppteles (talk) 21:04, 8 September 2018 (UTC)


Size of the Portuguese Empire[edit]

I thought it would be useful to restart the discussions regarding the size of the Portuguese empire.

The purpose of this article is to list the sizes of various empires throughout history. Implicit in this is that there is a common way to measure them. Regarding the strength of the various sources we could use, Taagepera[1] is unique because his series of papers specifically compares the relative sizes of different empires throughout history. He defines empire size at any given time as "the dry land area it controls, at least in the sense of having some undisputed military and taxation prerogatives." His research leads him to state Portugal controlled roughly the coastal half of Brazil ( and the coastal quarter of Angola and Mozambique) at the time of Brazil's independence. He is consistent with this analysis, since he finds the independent empire of Brazil was roughly half the size it was in 1900, by which time his research indicates Brazil controlled all the land we are discussing. He was certainly aware of the entirety of Brazil's claims, so this is not just some oversight.

Having said this, we should be open to the possibility that he is wrong. His paper references two sources in a table (page 502) but does not provide information on what one of those sources are. The question is not how "large" was Brazil at the time of it's independence, but was Brazil "in control" of the territory nominally under it's jurisdiction. Absent knowing what source Taagepera used in his paper, I thought it would be useful to look at more sources and see if his assertion is credible. --Work permit (talk) 06:16, 9 September 2018 (UTC)

To that end, perhaps we could discuss sources in a structured way, as follows:

Support for effective control of entire political boundary in 1822[edit]


  • Leslie Bethell edited a series of books on Brazil, including a book titled "Colonial Brazil". This book contains a translated article titled Instrufies imditas de D. Luis da Cunha a Marco Antonio de A^evedo Coutinho (ed. Pedro de Azevedo and Antonio Baiao, Academia das Sciencias de Lisboa, Coi'mbra, 1930), 218 On page 251 of the book, a map showing the northern and western defensive systems of Amazonia and the Mato Grosso state together with a map of Brazil after the Treaty of Madrid (1750) is shown [2] --Work permit (talk) 16:26, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
The map shows 11 forts along a number of rivers and at the borders of the territory. -- Work permit (talk) 16:41, 9 September 2018 (UTC)


  • There are many sources which cite a larger area. For example, ""During the colonial period, from 1500 to 1822, all of Brazil, including Rio, was part of the Portuguese Empire" (section written by Rosana Narbosa Nunes) [3] Work permit (talk) 06:11, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
This source would seem to be discussing the political boundary, since without a doubt in 1500 Portugal only occupied a small portion of Brazil. --Work permit (talk) 06:11, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
Thank you very much for structuring the debate Work permit. About the Rosana Barbosa Nunes' source, i think we should balance what she states. Indeed, the Portuguese Empire certainly did not control all of Brazil from 1500 to 1822, since she says for example that the French occupied the region of Rio de Janeiro from 1555 to 1567, before being expelled by the Portuguese. However, this source makes it quite clear that for a time, between 1500 and 1822, all Brazil belonged to the Portuguese Empire.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 12:25, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
Again, the clarification provided above should be made here. Ppteles (talk) 17:01, 10 September 2018 (UTC)


  • A page of Zbigniew Brezinsky on pages 22-23, where there is a table with a list of the largest empires. It cites the Portuguese Empire (1815) 10,400,000 km[4] Work permit (talk) 06:11, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
This source lacks wp:context, and says nothing about control boundary vrs political boundary. --Work permit (talk) 06:11, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
The Brezinsky source is not written by a historian AND is not focused on this topic, therefore, i would say it's completely unreliable here. By the way, few days ago, i was making some research on the size of the Achaemenid Empire which is 5500000 km² in the article while Brezinsky states it was 8000000 km², but i decided not to use it as a source and change the figure given in the article precisely because this source is not reliable for this topic.
I'm going to take some time to see if i can find some sources who are more explicit about the period when the Portuguese Empire controlled all of Brazil. Cheers.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 12:25, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
Brzezinski is just as reliable as Taagepera. None of them are historians. And Brzezinski also 'mentions history' in his book, same as Taagepera. I fail to see why it is unreliable.Ppteles (talk) 11:35, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
I think a clarification is needed. Portugal always controlled the whole of Brazil. What it did not control at all times, was the whole of the territory which today comprises the country of Brazil. I think it is important that this distinction is made. Ppteles (talk) 16:59, 10 September 2018 (UTC)


  • On page 11 of his book on the 'Cabanagem' insurrection, Mark Harris provides a map of South America in 1799 outlining the borders of Colonial Brazil in this year.[5]Ppteles (talk) 02:58, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
I fixed your citation -- Work permit (talk) 04:10, 10 September 2018 (UTC)


  • An atlas, which was the official book of the Brazilian Education ministry in 1977, shows economic activity across Brazil in the early colonial, late colonial, and pre republican time.[6] Page 24 relates to the earlier colonial times, page 28 refers to late colonial times. These pages show forestry, cane sugar harvesting, ranching, mining, and the harvesting of plants for herbal remedies (in the Amazon region). Page 32 show these activities during the Brazilian empire time, where the primary economic acitivity in the Amazon region is rubber harvesting. On page 18 there is a mpa highlighting the 'bandeiras' which were organized militias of settlers who set out to expand territory and conquer it for the Portuguese Crown. Most of them left from the São Paulo region. There is an arrow showing how this expansion was also made towards the Amazon. On page 18 there is a map highlighting the forts built and Aldeias settled by the Portuguese along the Amazon river. This argues that the Portuguese did have an economic and military presence beyond the coastal half of Brazil -- Work permit (talk) 14:23, 10 September 2018 (UTC)


  • Describes the Brazilian territory in 1844 (unfortunately past the date in which Portugal controlled the country), but says the following which is appropriately sourced, page 281, "Brazil is a very extensive region [...] after being long held as a Portuguese colony, has of late, by peculiar circumstances, been formed into a separate empire.[...] In the interior, this Empire borders on every side upon the former provinces of Spain.[...] The dimensions of this immense range of territory may be taken from about 4º N to 23º S lat. and from about 35º to 73º W lon. This will give about 2500 miles of extreme length, and about the same in extreme breadth. The area of the whole has been estimated at upwards 3,000,000 square miles"[7] (note: 3,000,000 square miles give circa 7,800,000 km^2, much closer to the actual value, and completely wrecks the assertion by Taagepera that Brazil "doubled its territory size' by 1900"(!!!!!) )Ppteles (talk) 16:40, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
It seems that this source bases itself on the encyclopedia of Murray, below.Ppteles (talk) 17:00, 10 September 2018 (UTC)

Murray, Wallace and Jameson[edit]

  • In their work 'The Encyclopædia Of Geography: Comprising A Complete Description Of The Earth, Physical, Statistical, Civil, And Political', Volume 3, published in 1837, so only just 12 years after Brazil became independent, Murray, Wallace and Jameson, say the same as Mitchell (from which we can conclude Mitchell based himself on them), quoting (page 223)"Brazil is a very extensive region [...] after being long held as a Portuguese colony, has of late, by peculiar circumstances, been formed into a separate empire.[...] In the interior, this Empire borders on every side upon the former provinces of Spain.[...] The dimensions of this immense range of territory may be taken from about 4º N to 23º S lat. and from about 35º to 73º W lon. This will give about 2500 miles of extreme length, and about the same in extreme breadth. The area of the whole has been estimated at upwards 3,000,000 square miles", also, on page 222 (fig. 965) a map is provided[8] . (note: the links leads to a later edition(?), the original was published in 1837, as can be seen here).Ppteles (talk) 16:39, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
Again, this 1837 encyclopedia discredits Taagepera's values for Portugal and Brazil Ppteles (talk) 16:42, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
Thank you. Establishes treaty boundaries as does other sources. Does not establish effective control. -- Work permit (talk) 03:09, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
See my reply on Pinkerton. In my opinion the burden of proof that Portugal didn't control these areas falls on you. I've shown you cities founded, forts built, wars fought, missions and trade established in the very same areas you claim were not controlled by the Portuguese. Thanks.Ppteles (talk) 03:41, 13 September 2018 (UTC)


  • Quoting, from page 12: "Portuguese America, as defined by the treaty of San Ildefonso, signed with Spain in 1777, encompassed territories of nearly 3 million square miles"[9]Ppteles (talk) 17:19, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
Thank you. Additional source that establishes treaty boundary, though not effective control. -- Work permit (talk) 03:07, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
See my reply of Pinkerton, Jameson, Murray etc. Ppteles (talk) 03:42, 13 September 2018 (UTC)


  • Quoting, from page 93: "Unlike the United States, Brazil did not need to expand by way of treaty negotiations or military conquests to obtain an enormous expanse of Territory. The country received as its political inheritance, at least technically speaking, all of Portuguese America, a territory that already encompassed a space that was nearly the country's current size" [10]Ppteles (talk) 17:30, 10 September 2018 (UTC)


  • I've noticed that in this article, there's several different languages that reference Portugal's 10.4 number with just "Gordon (2005)" and no link provided. I've been researching and found that it could refer to Raymond G. Gordons book Ethnologue: Languages of the world which was published in 2005. Now I can't find a way to search the pages in this book, but it might mention the Portuguese Empires size in it (most likely around 10.4 million km2). Empirecoins (talk) 18:25, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
Looking into the page history, it turns out to be this source, which unless I'm mistaken fails WP:RELIABILITY by being WP:SELFPUBLISHED. See my comment about it at #Portuguese empire size above. TompaDompa (talk) 19:21, 10 September 2018 (UTC)

Pinkerton (the ultimate proof)[edit]

  • @Work permit: This one completely settles it. It was published in 1807 therefore at a time when the Brazilian territory was still a part of Portugal, and I quote from page 707, "The dominions of South America, held by the small kingdom of Portugal, extend from the frontier at the French Guiana, lat. 1º 30' to port St. Pedro, S. lat 32º, being 33 degrees and a half, or 2000 g. miles: and the breadth, from Cape St. Roque to the furthest Portuguese settlement on the river of Amazons, called Sapatinga, equals, if it do not exceed, that extent*" and the footnote reads: "Da Cunha computes the length of Portuguese possessions, from the river of Pinzon in the North, to the river of San Pedro S at five hundred Portuguese leagues, that is two thousand B. miles, but as there are eighteen Portuguese leagues to the degree, each is not equal, like the Spanish, to four B. miles. He computes the breadth as of the same extent from Cape St Roque to the most western missions"[11]. I think this one pretty much settles it.Ppteles (talk) 19:45, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
A quick estimate using these values, and this calculator, which converts degrees to kms, we obtain the following values - largest N-S lenght: 3700 kms, largest E-W length: 3700 kms (conservative as the author claims it to be larger than the value for N-S). This is slightly smaller than the actual values we can find today of circa 4300 kms for both, but still settles it, since as can be seen from the link these two values are computed diagonally. Ppteles (talk) 19:53, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
established treaty boundaries I assume, as do other many other sources mentioned in this section. Does not establish the issue of control. Thank you. -- Work permit (talk) 03:03, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Usually historians prefer contemporary sources to use as primary sources to settle disputes. In this case we have an encyclopedia describing the size of South America that was 'held' by the Kingdom of Portugal. It proceeds to describing the various states, including the State of Grão-Pará and Maranhão, which you and others claim did not belong or was not controlled by the Portuguese. If you want to be even more specific, 'held' is synonymous with 'controlled'. The burden of proof in my opinion falls on you since you seem to claim Portugal didn't control this area, even if I've shown you forts, cities founded, farms, etc in that region that existed in this period. Ppteles (talk) 03:08, 13 September 2018 (UTC)


  • My main concern now is that I know this to be right, but it seems hard to find a reliable source for the 10.4 figure. I have found this source, but am unsure whether it can be used, as it is for kids, and I ignore the policies of wikipedia in regard to such things. It's an encyclopedia for kids, published in 2015, by the famous DK publishing, having as main contributor Ann Baggaley, and somehow related to the Smithsonian. On page 322, it lists 4 major European empires by territorial extent (Britain, Spain, Portugal and Italy), and gives the value of 10.4 million km2 for Portugal[12].Ppteles (talk) 20:40, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
Not wp:rs by any measure. -- Work permit (talk) 03:04, 13 September 2018 (UTC)


  • In his light reading book 'Man Facts: Fascinating Things Every Bloke Should Know', which provides lists on a huge range of topics, in the History section, Bridges gives the value 10.4 million km^2 for Portugal. [13].Ppteles (talk) 20:48, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
a light reading book. Not wp:rs by any measure but thank you for the observation.-- Work permit (talk) 03:05, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

Mura people (wikipedia)[edit]

Support for partial control in 1822[edit]


  • I've only begun looking into this. In one source I found the assertion "Although 8.5 million square kilometers were included within the political boubndaries, only a small portion of the territory was effectively organized." [14] It is not strong, just a start. --Work permit (talk) 06:11, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
This source is unreliable- Also 'effectively organized' doesn't mean 'not controlled'. In fact I would say that your source corroborates the 8.5 km^2 extent of the Portuguese Empire in America, as it should.Ppteles (talk) 02:30, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
I'm certainly not making any claims based on it. -- Work permit (talk) 04:07, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
Do you have a way to access this book "The Portuguese Empire, 1415-1808: A World on the Move" I think the maps could be of value.Ppteles (talk) 16:24, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
I do, but at a different location. I'll have access to it in a few days.-- Work permit (talk) 17:23, 10 September 2018 (UTC)


  • Josep Colomer In his book GREAT EMPIRES, SMALL NATIONS, has a table for the sizes of various empires. He quotes 6m sq km for the size of Portugal at its peak. Data about empires are taken "from four illuminating articles by Rein Taagepera." [15] -- Work permit (talk) 15:41, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
He doesn't source it. Might as well be referencing this table, therefore doing exactly what I was afraid would happen: spreading false informationPpteles (talk) 15:53, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
He does, please read References and further Reading at the end of the book. That is where references are usually cited. -- Work permit (talk) 16:12, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
Ok his references are taagepera, just as I said. Therefore, unreliable. ;) Ppteles (talk) 16:16, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
If by "spreading false information", you mean this wikipedia page I'll note that Colmers article was written in 2007. At the end of 2007 This wikpedia article was quoting 10.4km^2. So I would say it is the reverse. Colman is an academic who looked to compare sizes of empires across time and chose to use Taagepera. -- Work permit (talk) 16:21, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
Very well, but it's the same source. It's Taagepera. He took the values from Taagepera, and we have seen how they can be easily disproved.Ppteles (talk) 16:25, 10 September 2018 (UTC)

General observations[edit]

  • The problem about his topic is that Brazil before independence what not just a claim in the interior states, nor was is fully controlled by the Portuguese people. I'd say I would classify it as an unorganized territory since there was untouched tribes in the amazon not influenced by the government even though the Portuguese signed several treaties giving them full ownership to those lands. However, even saying that its an unorganized territory is a stretch, as the Portuguese were present at the borders between them and the Spanish colonies; building forts along the border and fighting two wars with them in the areas[16]. In my opinion, reducing Portugal's area is like reducing France's because they weren't fully present in the uninhabited desert lands of French West Africa, or reducing Canada's land area because of the unorganized territories of Northern Canada and the Native reserves. It just seems incorrect and unjust to me. Empirecoins (talk) 16:19, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
This is why I'm keeping an open mind. You have mentioned Canada and France. I had noticed that Taagepra [1] credits the entire Louisiana purchase to the United States in 1803, the date of the purchase. Yet the first fort established west of the Missouri river was in 1819. I believe the first permanent settlement in Nebraska was a fur trading post established in 1822[17] Widespread settlement of the region came even later. I am unclear on how the treatment of the Louisiana Purchase is consistent with the treatment of Brazil. -- Work permit (talk) 03:08, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Just as an FYI. In case you haven't read Taagepera, the vast majority of his sources are atlases.[1] In his previous work he states "Empire size at any given is defined as the dry land area it controls, at least in the having some undisputed military and taxation prerogatives. This area is determined on the basis of the consensus of historians pressed through maps in historical atlases and other texts." [18] Regarding the Portuguese empire, he mentions two sources called "LK and "E". He cites "E" as ENGEL, J., ED. (1953–1962) Grosser historischer Weltatlas.Vol. I (1953) up to AD 565; Vol. II (1958) 600–1527; Vol. III (1962) from 1477 on. München: Bayerische Schulbuch-Verlag, a german Atlas. His footnotes do not indicate what source "LK" is. For the Brazilian Empire, he just cites "LK". I have not bothered to track down ENGEL because I suspect the source for Brazil may be the unknown "LK" source. -- Work permit (talk) 03:57, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
Just all the more reason to discredit his calculations. I still think we could have two or more separate tables. Or even two or more columns on the same table for each empire, showing different estimates by different authors. This kind of tables already exists in other wikipedia pages.Ppteles (talk) 11:49, 10 September 2018 (UTC)

Historical maps by Fundação Getúlio Vargas[edit]

Missions, trade, outposts, cities, schools, seminaries controlled by the Portuguese in the Amazon region in colonial times[edit]
Yes there were outposts in the 1600’s.-- Work permit (talk) 02:50, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
These are not just outposts, and this is not the 1600s it's the 1700s. The white churches represent seminaries with formal (superior) education, the small house a larger religious community, the yellow crosses a main residence, the red dots a 'fazenda' (farm) or a mission, the black dots a fort. the boats show the maximum degree of expansion. The darker areas along the Amazon river the areas where herbs were cultivated to be exported to Europe and other places. Taagepera himself, the source that seems to be preferred here, says that an empire ""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". Please tell me how taking this definition into account this area of the globe doesn't belong to the Portuguese Empire.Ppteles (talk) 02:57, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Your Quora article started with “The early 17th century...”,and showed a map from the 17th/18th century. Is that not correct, is this not from “the early 1600’s” and the map from 1600/1700’s?
I didn't write it, although I asked from where he got the maps, and I have them now, it's from Fundação Getúlio Vargas. He starts with in the 1600s to refer to the fact that the Portuguese started 'going west' as far back as the 16th century.Ppteles (talk) 03:28, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Wars fought with native Indians and Indian slave trade performed by the Portuguese in the Amazon region[edit]

In here you have another map showing something no one should be proud of, but nevertheless, on-topic. It shows Amerindian slave trade already in the 17th century. The areas encircled correspond to battles that were had between Portuguese settlers and natives. As you can see the area encircled in white is way inland in the Amazon, which corresponds to the War with the Muras, a war that involved the Portuguese and natives that lived along the river in that area, and guess who won it? Yep.Ppteles (talk) 03:13, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

Administrative region showing the number of Portuguese subjects in the Amazon region and hinterlands (Mato Grosso)[edit]

In here another map of interest. Here we have the administrative divisions of the Portuguese colony of Brazil. As you can see the area that you claim wasn't controlled by the Portuguese possessed subjects of the crown of Portugal (about 100 000 people in the three administrative divisions you believe were not part of the colonies - Pará, Amazonas e Mato Grosso) who lived in this region already. And this is the 18th century.Ppteles (talk) 03:32, 13 September 2018 (UTC) Ppteles (talk) 21:48, 13 September 2018 (UTC)



  1. ^ a b c 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. JSTOR 2600793. 
  2. ^ Bethell, Leslie (1987). Colonial Brazil (PDF). Cambridge England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521341271. 
  3. ^ Melvin Eugene Page; Penny M. Sonnenburg (2003). Colonialism: An International, Social, Cultural, and Political Encyclopedia, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 501. ISBN 9781576073353. 
  4. ^ Brzezinski, Zbigniew (2012). Strategic vision : America and the crisis of global power (PDF). New York: Basic Books. ISBN 9780465029556. OCLC 787847809. 
  5. ^ Harris, Mark (2010). Rebellion on the Amazon: The Cabanagem, Race, and Popular Culture in the North of Brazil. Cambridge, England: Cambridge Latin American Studies. ISBN 9780521437233. 
  6. ^ Albuquerque, Manuel Maurício de (1977). Atlas histórico-escolar do Ministério da Educação (in Portuguese) (PDF). Rio de Janeiro: Ministério da Educação do Brasil (Brazilian Education Ministry). p. 161. 
  7. ^ Mitchell, S. Augustus (1844). An Accompaniment to Mitchell's Map of the World: On Mercator's Projection. Philadelphia: J Fagan. 
  8. ^ Murray, Hugh (1837). The Encyclopædia Of Geography: Comprising A Complete Description Of The Earth, Physical, Statistical, Civil, And Political, volume 3. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Blanchard. 
  9. ^ Barman, Roderick (1988). Brazil: The Forging of a Nation, 1798-1852. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 
  10. ^ Soluri (editor), John (2018). A Living Past: Environmental Histories of Modern Latin America. New York: Berghahn books. ISBN 9781785333903. 
  11. ^ Pinkerton, John (1807). Modern Geography: A Description of the Empires, Kingdoms, States, and Colonies; with the Oceans, Seas, and Isles; in All Parts of the World: Including the most recent discoveries and Political Alterations. Digested On a New Plan, vol III America and Africa. London: T. Cadell and W. Davis. 
  12. ^ Baggaley, Ann (2015). Picturepedia: An Encyclopedia on Every Page. London: DK publishing. p. 360. ISBN 9781465438287. 
  13. ^ Bridges, Dan (2015). Man Facts: Fascinating Things Every Bloke Should Know. Chichester, UK: Summersdale. p. 272. ISBN 9781849539852.  Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  14. ^ Robert J. Havighurst, (Jul 15, 1969). J. Roberto Moreira, ed. Society and Education in Brazil. University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 9780822974079. 
  15. ^ Josep Colomer (2007). "Large Empires". GREAT EMPIRES, SMALL NATIONS The Uncertain Future of the Sovereign State (PDF). Routledge. ISBN 9781134072835. 
  16. ^ "Tratado de Madrid. 13 de enero de 1750". Pueblos Originarios. Retrieved 9 September 2018. 
  17. ^ The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Bellevue NEBRASKA, UNITED STATES". 
  18. ^ Taagepera, Rein (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. JSTOR 1170959. 

Clarifications about the Portuguese and the Brazilian Empires[edit]

@Wikaviani: @Work permit: @TompaDompa: @Empirecoins: @EdJohnston:

There have been a series of false claims made on this wiki page (including the talk page), as well as my talk page that I'd like to clarify. Please be patient, and bear with me. First of all, I'd like to remind everyone that you don't own wikipedia, and therefore this page does not belong to you, or me, or anyone. I think both TompaDompa and Work permit would benefit from reading that link, and think a little bit about what they are doing here on this page. Also, I believe it is everyone's duty, especially at this day and age, to fight against false information being spread. I think wikipedia would learn a lot from what is happening on this page, because clearly people have been led by pre-formed beliefs into turning this wiki page in a vehicle of false information.

So I will begin,

  • @Empirecoins:, The Amazon basin was not unorganized territory. The Brazilian territory that today is part of the Amazon basin was previously the State of Grão-Pará and Maranhão, and was a self-run polity with capital in the city of Belém. The society was organized: there were missions (Jesuits, Franciscans and Dominicans), that spread around the Amazon basin and created what is still today called the 'Aldeias' where Portuguese missionaries lived together with Christianized natives. The Portuguese military also built many forts along the river to secure those areas and founded several cities, an example is here. Funilly enough, most of this cities actually correspond to the names of Portuguese cities (Santarém, Obidos, Alenquer, etc.), the only area of Brazil where it is so.

Here is a small, not extensive list of cities in the Amazon basin which were founded in colonial Brazil:

Cities founded by the Portuguese in Amazonia during colonial times[edit]

Forts built by the Portuguese in Amazonia during colonial times[edit]

Here is a list of forts built around the Border of colonial Brazil as defined by the Treaty of Santo Ildefonso, and described in the book Colonial Brazil by Leslie Bethell, already cited hereBethell, Leslie (1987). Colonial Brazil (PDF). Cambridge England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521341271. </ref>:

So as you can see, this is clearly not undefined territory. The ihnabitants of this area were subjects of the Crown of Portugal, and later of the Crown of Brazil, and are today part of the Federation of Brazilian States.

  • @Work permit:, as it probably has become pretty obvious by now, it is not true that the Amazon was unhinhabited in 1822, or that this area was only colonized during the rubber boom. Furthermore I'd like to clarify that there was already an economy in this region in colonial times. As you can see in the historical Atlas which was the official book of the Brazilian Education ministry in 1977Albuquerque, Manuel Maurício de (1977). Atlas histórico-escolar do Ministério da Educação (in Portuguese) (PDF). Rio de Janeiro: Ministério da Educação do Brasil (Brazilian Education Ministry). p. 161. , page 24 of this book. And yes this source IS good, and contains encyclopedic knowledge.
You may have misread what I wrote. When I said "If asked to speculate", it was just that, speculating. I did not make a claim, and of course had no source to back it up. I did look at your source and appreciate you posting it. I'm not a native portguese speaker, so perhaps you can help me. I understand the map shows various activities in regions. Does page 24 relate to earlier colonial times and page 28 refer to late colonial times? I understand the first four categories on these pages are forestry, cane sugar harvesting, ranching, and mining. I can't understand the pink legend. Could you tell me what it is? Does page 32 show these activities during the Brazilian empire time? During this time, does the pink legend refers to rubber harvesting? -- Work permit (talk) 03:29, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
Yes map on page 24 refers to the main source of income of these regions in the 18th century whereas the other one refers to the major source in the 19th century during the period of the Brazilian Empire(1822-1889). And yes the pink in the former refers to 'drugs', plants that were used by botanist to produce remedies, etc. and in the latter it refers to rubber. On page 20 you have another map showing the main source of income in the 17th century also highlighting the Amazon basin. On page 18 you have a mpa highlighting the 'bandeiras' which were organized militias of settlers who set out to expand territory and conquer it for the Portuguese Crown. Most of the left from the São Paulo region. There is an arrow showing how this expansion was also made towards the Amazon. On page 18 you have a map highlighting the forts built and Aldeias settled by the Portuguese along the Amazon river. It is in fact more comprehensive that Bethell. Ppteles (talk) 11:33, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
  • @TompaDompa: and probably the worst argument used so far, that Portugal didn't control this territory in 1500. Well yes, but this is true for ALL empires. The idea here is to give a value for the maximum territorial extent and a date for when this occurred. And another thing, you mention the Iberian Union - territorial Expansion in Brazil, actually PROFITED from this Union, as Brazilian-Portuguese settlers took advantage of it to disregard the treaty of Tordesillas and claim lands beyond the famous Meridian. After the Portuguese Restoration in 1640, these lands remained in the hands of the Portuguese crown. Also the claim by Taagepera and the Brazilian Empire is ludicrous at best. Sorry, but it's the only word to describes what he says. First, because there was a movement *against* the Brazilian Empire in this region called cabanagem. How can you or anyone claim that the Brazilian Empire didn't control this region if the people revolted against them? Also the date 1900 is very strange! The Brazilian Empire officially ended in 1889!! This only serves to demonstrate that Taagepera is an unreliable source.
  • @Wikaviani: Taagepera is not a historian. He may have written about history, but so has Brzenzinski. Neither one of them is a historian and both seem to dwell on similar topics - geopolitics. So I think either source is reliable or unreliable. If one is reliable, so is the other, if one is unreliable, so is the other.
@Ppteles: You continue to misrepresent Taagepera, while i provided you a link proving that he is a historian (but Brezinski is not). @Work permit:, @TompaDompa: Sorry if i cannot be more active in this thread, quite busy for now.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 21:36, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
@Wikaviani:Sorry Wikaviani, but I completely disagree with your claim. You present a research abstract in which his research interests are delineated. He has interest in history. But having interest in history does not make one a historian. He is a PhD in Physics and holds a degree in international relations.Ppteles (talk) 22:47, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
You may disagree, but facts are facts. Taagepera has not only written historical books, he also has research interests in history, unlike Brezinski.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 20:51, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
That is not a fact. Your initial claim was that he was a historian, clearly he is not.Ppteles (talk) 16:55, 12 September 2018 (UTC)

Conclusion: It is important to change the value for the Portuguese Empire as soon as possible, in order to prevent the spread of false information. Also, claim in 'a' needs a citation, otherwise it is against wikipedia policies. Ppteles (talk) 02:28, 10 September 2018 (UTC)

First of all, Wikipedia is not a place to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS. Second, what I said about not controlling the territory in 1500 was in response to a source stating During the colonial period, from 1500 to 1822, all of Brazil, including Rio, was part of the Portuguese Empire . My point was this clearly did not refer to de facto control, but de jure. Third, what I said about the Iberian Union was in response to the same source – Portuguese control was not unbroken from 1500 to 1822 if one considers it to have been under Spanish control during the Iberian Union (which not everyone does, which is why I said some would say). Again, de facto versus de jure control. Fourth, How can you or anyone claim that the Brazilian Empire didn't control this region if the people revolted against them? Being revolted against is no guarantee of having been in undisputed control. Fifth, there is no contradiction with the use of the year 1900 – it refers to the Republic of Brazil. Taagepera considers the Empire of Brazil and modern-day Brazil to be a single continuous entity, much like the source treats the Russian Empire, the USSR, and modern-day Russia to be a single continuous entity. TompaDompa (talk) 05:29, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
I am not righting wrongs, just fighting against the spread of false information. Whatever you're saying has nothing to do with de jure or de facto. Portugal always controlled the entirety of Brazil throughout its expansion along the centuries. 'Brazil' with this name only started to exist in the 1700s. In 1815 Portugal controlled 8.5 km^2 of South America. As such this is irrelevant to the topic and I will reply no further.Ppteles (talk) 11:19, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Third party comment I saw this pop up on WP:RSN with typical lack of context. Then I saw this pop up on WP:3RR/N. And seriously guys what is it with Portugal and Brazil here? It seems like this should be a simple issue. I saw the discussion over de facto imperial territory vs de jure imperial territory at the top of the page and it looked like it was settled. If you have a working definition for what constitutes imperial boundaries, IE: that the boundaries are the de facto boundaries, and if that definition is being applied to all empires then I'd suggest lending credence to WP:RSes that describe de facto boundaries. And no childrens' picture encyclopedias please. Simonm223 (talk) 17:32, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
@Simonm223: Could you please provide some input concerning the the reliability of both Taagepera, and Brzezinski. Thank you. Also on the factual mistake in Taagepera's work, and how this is persistently ignored. Thanks.Ppteles (talk) 02:30, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
You have two reliable sources giving two different estimates for the size of an empire whose boundaries were anyway poorly defined, each using different criteria. There is no reason not to just give both figures with an explanatory note. FOARP (talk) 08:34, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Concur with FOARP Simonm223 (talk) 12:40, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
@FOARP and Simonm223: How do you reconcile this with WP:RSCONTEXT (Information provided in passing by an otherwise reliable source that is not related to the principal topics of the publication may not be reliable; editors should cite sources focused on the topic at hand where possible.)? TompaDompa (talk) 13:16, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
@FOARP, Simonm223, and TompaDompa: Perhaps you didn't read the text? It is clearly talking about empires and world domination. It's an entire chapter dedicated to that.--Ppteles (talk) 13:42, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I pinged FOARP and Simonm223 but my comment addressed TompaDompa.--Ppteles (talk) 14:12, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
The chapter is really about the history of world domination as a concept. There is no comment on the table in the text, no references to any sources for the table, and no description of or discussion about how the figures were arrived at. The table has essentially just been "dropped" there. TompaDompa (talk) 14:29, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
This is a silly argument. Brzezinski is clearly an expert on international relations, a field entirely germane when it comes to the subject of empires. That his figures do not agree with those of Taagepera does not make one right and the other wrong, it just means their estimates are different - so cite both. There is no mystery as to how Bzezinski arrived at his figure (he included Brazil as a whole) so we do not need to ask how it was arrived at. FOARP (talk) 15:28, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

Threshold for inclusion[edit]

For over 2 years, the threshold for inclusion has been that the greatest extent of the empire exceeded 2% of the world's total land area (corresponding to roughly 3 million square kilometers). A little over a month ago, I rephrased that part to avoid clunky wording, and in doing so I also changed it from explicitly being the threshold for inclusion to merely implicitly being so. With an addition below that threshold, I figured we should discuss the threshold. I don't think lowering the threshold is a viable option; the 2% threshold results in more than 40 entries (not desirable to increase the number – this is a list of the largest empires, not just a list of empires) and we run into problems with exhaustiveness owing to a lack of sources for smaller empires (not feasible to extend – I'm already not so sure about the completeness of the >2% entries, especially at the lower end of the range). As for keeping the threshold at 2% or raising it to 3%, I'm neutral. Raising the the threshold to more than 3% I think would result in too short of a list. Thoughts? TompaDompa (talk) 19:58, 11 September 2018 (UTC)

What about 2,5% ?---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 21:00, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
That would work for me. TompaDompa (talk) 21:05, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
Ok that would mean listing Empires with more than roughly 3,75 million square kilometers.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 21:11, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
An alternative would be to simply limit the number to 40. So this would be the list of the top 40 empires. I think that would be clearer, since the reason to limit the list is to limit the number of entries in the table? -- Work permit (talk) 21:31, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
This would be perfectly fine for me.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 21:34, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
Fixing the number of entries seems more arbitrary than using a size threshold, and a fixed number of entries also becomes a problem where there are ties. TompaDompa (talk) 21:57, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
I’m fine either way. -- Work permit (talk) 23:59, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
I took another look at the empires that would be cut off. I would marginly prefer to keep the 2% threshold vrs raising it to 2.5%. I can just imagine people in the future putting Germany or France back in, and having to constantly revert, maintain the threshold. Your current 2% has been stable for so long, why rock the boat... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Work permit (talkcontribs) 00:08, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
As long as we can reach some kind of WP:CONSENSUS, 2% vs. 2.5% vs. 3% is not all that important to me. I mostly just want an explicit consensus to refer to in case of future disagreement. TompaDompa (talk) 11:35, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
In that case I would go for 2%. I’m a bit relucant to do that just now given an editor is warring again on the portugal topic. -- Work permit (talk) 12:26, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
I disagree with using a threshold given that the article says that measuring the empire is difficult therefore a precise threshold is nonsensical and contradictory.Ppteles (talk) 13:19, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Some kind of threshold is necessary for practical reasons. It's not feasible or desirable to list every single empire that has ever existed. TompaDompa (talk) 13:30, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
I agree there must be some cutoff. The article has used an implicit 2% cutoff for a very long time. -- Work permit (talk) 16:03, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
I disagree with a cutoff given that it's not certain how certain empire sizes are measured.Ppteles (talk) 16:52, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
That's a nonsensical argument to me, frankly. Uncertainty of measurements is no reason not to have inclusion criteria based on the best available figures. TompaDompa (talk) 21:59, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
That is not true as you know very well the sources are being highly disputed. I did not agree with this edit, and therefore you did not have consensus to revert my edit. I believe your 'implicit' 2% to be some kind of unwritten rule you've kept to yourself that has no bearing and therefore I dispute your edit. I am entitled to 1 revert every 24 hours and I will use it tomorrow to revert this, because I disagree with you, and believe you do not have consensus to do what you did. Again you do not own this wiki page. It is already bad enough that this wiki page shows false information--Ppteles (talk) 02:23, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I fail to see how sources in dispute have anything to do with a threshold. What do you suggest we do if we don't have a threshold?
About WP:CONSENSUS, three out of four editors involved in this discussion support a threshold (how high it should be is a different matter). That constitutes a rough consensus to use one for now – the discussion is obviously still ongoing.
I believe your 'implicit' 2% to be some kind of unwritten rule you've kept to yourself that has no bearing and therefore I dispute your edit. You would be wrong. The text about the 2% threshold was added on 7 September 2016 and rephrased to avoid "This is a list of" phrasing on 9 August 2018.
Of course I don't WP:OWN this page; nobody does. TompaDompa (talk) 05:39, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

In any case you wouldn't revert it and wait for consensus. You cannot ask something of me, and then not do it yourself. I think the threshold is completely arbitrary and based on assumptions made by you or anyone else. Unless this is explicity written in the text, I disagree with it.Ppteles (talk) 13:21, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I'll ask you again: What do you suggest we do if we don't have a threshold? TompaDompa (talk) 14:45, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Until it is explicitely and systematically defined on the list, I don't think you can even consider a threshold. Ppteles (talk) 17:06, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
We could simply restore the previous phrasing that explicitly stated the threshold if you think that's better. But still, what's the alternative to having a threshold? How would the list work with no threshold? TompaDompa (talk) 17:15, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Why do we need a threshold? It is a list of Empires at their maximum extent. Wikipedia has thousands of lists with over 40 entries. Ppteles (talk) 17:19, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Without a threshold, the list becomes indiscriminate. There's no reason to duplicate List of empires. We also get problems with completeness when we get to the smaller empires. TompaDompa (talk) 17:41, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I didn't realize there was also a list of empires it is really starting to seem like this article is nothing but a POV content fork. Simonm223 (talk) 17:46, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
That list doesn't provide a value for maximum extent. Perhaps merging this article with that one would make sense. This would basically mean adding a column on that article.Ppteles (talk) 18:21, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Discussion about user conduct

I didn't start an edit war. The Portuguese topic is more than proven and no one has written anything in over 24 hours. That constitutes tacit agreement. Wikipedia policy states that editors should avoide fillibustering and postponing decisions. There are more than enough sources to change this page to a correct value for the Portuguese Empire, and to correct the false and misguided notion that Portugal didn't control the whole of Brazilian territory or that Brazil doubled its size in the 19th century. Ppteles (talk) 13:21, 12 September 2018 (UTC)

You were mistaken. You don't have tacit agreement. Please revert your entry. You are violating the terms of your unblock.-- Work permit (talk) 15:33, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
Regarding your filibuster comment, consensus on Wikipedia takes time. Not everybody here has the time to research and respond within your 24 hour time frame. My point stands, you have not built a consensus which is evidenced by the fact that your edits have been reverted by two editors. -- Work permit (talk) 15:41, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
@Ppteles: You are wrong, this is obviously not a method to gain consensus, since there is no deadline to edit Wikipedia. You have viloated the terms of your unblock and are reported again to the edit warring noticeboard. Check your talk page for further informations.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 16:25, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
I did not violate any terms since I assumed consensus had been reached. What I see here is that you had time to respond to another topic while the other, which has been more than proven has been left without reply for a long period of time, and, it's clear that Taagepera is wrong.Ppteles (talk) 16:58, 12 September 2018 (UTC)

Be nice, be civil[edit]

@Wikaviani: @Work permit: Please do not engage in disruptive behaviour. Shouting is considered rude in online communities, and it goes against wikipedia policies. This could be taken to a settlement dispute.Ppteles (talk) 16:54, 12 September 2018 (UTC)

I don't think this kind of comment will help your case. Please note that baseless accusations are considered to be personal attacks. I quote from this : "What is considered to be a personal attack" : "Accusations about personal behavior that lack evidence.". Let's see what admins say about this.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 17:14, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
Here is the record. You edited the page,[4] violating the terms of your block because you did not have consensus. You said you thought you had consensus because 24 hours passed without comments to your posts on the talk page. I then told you when I first reverted that you did not have a consensus [5]. There was no caps in that reversion. You went ahead and reverted anyway [6]. Another editor reverted you again, saying you did not have consensus [7]. Again, no caps. You went ahead and reverted yet again [8]. At this point it seemed clear you were either ignoring the comments or did not notice them. So I reverted you and made clear, by capitalizing, that you did not have consensus and reminded you were violating the terms of your block [9], which in fact you did on your first edit. You went ahead and reverted again [10], complaining about my "shouting". You were reverted a final time[11] by @Wikaviani:, who then reported you. You violated the terms of your block when you first made the edit, and proceeded to do so 3 more times before being reported. -- Work permit (talk) 17:44, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
Work permit, using all-caps has been widely acknowledged as the equivalent to yelling in online communities. I will report any further such conduct to Administrators if they persist. Also I'd appreciate if someone started replying to my comments on this page, and I will keep putting pressure on other editors to come and see what is going on here.--Ppteles (talk) 02:26, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I stand by the record I posted above. Thank you. -- Work permit (talk) 02:56, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

New title[edit]

There has been discussion about changing the title, owing to ambiguities in the definition of "empire". A few different possible new titles have been suggested:

  1. Largest polities
  2. List of largest past and present countries
  3. Largest sovereign states in history

Thoughts? TompaDompa (talk) 14:51, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

  • Support number 2 or 3.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 15:30, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
  • I favour option 3. TompaDompa (talk) 16:12, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
  • I disagree with a name change. We just need to find a better definition of 'Empire' although I don't think we will find in with Taagepera - perhaps a history book could be of use. Inspiration could be taken from the wiki page on the definition of Empire. Alternatively, this page could be merged with the wiki page for Empire. --Ppteles (talk) 16:49, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

WP:NPOV issues with two-table approach[edit]

The current two-table approach is incompatible with WP:NPOV because it singles out one source and treats it differently than all the others (which are presented, together, in one of the tables). TompaDompa (talk) 15:00, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

I would be ok with having just one table with several estimates for the different empires. The main source for the current table is Taagepera, so not difficult to implement, but I would need to know whether you agree with this or not. Also I noticed that the values in Taagepera are taken from graphs rather than tables. I think this should be said in the text. For the specific question you make here - my suggestion is - making a single table with several estimates.Ppteles (talk) 16:11, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Also I noticed that the values in Taagepera are taken from graphs rather than tables. Huh? The values are taken from the tables on pages 492 through 502. TompaDompa (talk) 16:16, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Sorry, I hadn't noticed the Annex. General remark: I see a lot of assumptions made by Taagepera on Portugal and Brazil(Spanish conquest, what was that?), also obscure sources, which lead to obscure values and a lot of assumptions not explained in the text (half of Brazil only in 1822 ????). Peer-review seems to have failed here. In any case my on-topic reply is: if you agree we I can try to fix both tables into one, Ppteles (talk) 16:40, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I'd like some input from the other editors active on this page about how to best solve this. @Wikaviani and Work permit: Please weigh in on this. TompaDompa (talk) 16:57, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I agree with you TompaDompa, i see no legit reason to make a "Brezinski table" since this gives this source an undue weight. There should be a single table, nothing more, nothing less.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 18:24, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I think we should use the most reliable source for the entry. We can footnote other values if they pass as reliable alternatives. -- Work permit (talk) 23:06, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
@Simonm223, FOARP, Empirecoins, and Toddst1: I'd ask for more opinions. (Sorry for the ping).Ppteles (talk) 17:10, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I'd also like to raise concerns over the extant (first) table. It seems as if we're building Frankenstein. I'd be happier if we had different colums for different estimates rather than as it is now. Ppteles (talk) 17:33, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Maybe their should be two columns with one being smallest estimate, and one being largest. Empires are historic. We can never get an exact accurate number. Empirecoins (talk) 21:17, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Thanks, this seems to be the way forward. Let's just wait and see what happens to this wiki. I hope it gets merged with List of Empires so we can add a table with smallest and largest estimate. Ppteles (talk) 21:29, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I happen to disagree, as noted above. Thanks. -- Work permit (talk) 23:06, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Well how do you define which is the most reliable source? Clearly Taagepera would go bottom of the list, given that he used images such as this one to make his 'calculations'. I am more and more suspicious of Taagepera's figures. Also, it is not a rule, but many other lists on wikipedia list several figures on the same table when there are diverging numbers from two or more perfectly reliable sources.Ppteles (talk) 23:14, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Sorry I messed up that image is not from Grosser Historischer Weltatlas", but this one and this one are. My point stands. Certainly someone who claims to be systematizing measurements, and then uses these to *make* measurements is unreliable.Ppteles (talk) 23:33, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

Suggest you need substantial restructuring of this article[edit]

As it stands, and this points into the discussion above about the name change to accommodate the United States, this whole article is in violation of WP:LISTV#INC on the basis that you are using an WP:OR definition of an empire and a WP:SYNTH set of selection criteria. I would suggest you should consider wiping the article clean and starting from a definition of an empire which is verifiable in reliable secondary sources rather than one synthesized by local consensus. From there, re-insert any historical polity that meets those criteria based on a complete description in a reliable source. This will resolve questions like, "should the US be included?" and "should Portugal be included?"

I'm giving you this suggestion now because with the list in the state it's currently in I'm going to nominate it for AfD if it doesn't change substantially to comply with Wikipedia policy. Simonm223 (talk) 15:10, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

@Simonm223: Would you care to specify the issues besides the definition of "empire"? TompaDompa (talk) 15:18, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Ummm. That's a pretty big issue when it's the entire basis of the article. What Simon is saying is that a stable definition, verifiable in secondary sources (preferably not just one) of what should be included is essentially to it. Otherwise the grounds for inclusion are simply what editors think should be included without reference to sources external to Wiki. WP:LISTV#INC is what you should be looking at.FOARP (talk) 15:34, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
@Simonm223 and FOARP: If the title is changed (as proposed above), then would you still have concerns about this article ?---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 15:38, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I know that it's a big issue, but since we're trying to fix it, I would like to know what other issues need fixing, so they can also be taken care of. TompaDompa (talk) 15:43, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
No, the discussion of title change is symptomatic of the central problem, not a solution to it. I would suggest you start by looking at the sources used in Empire and keep the definition of empire used here in line with the definition used there. BTW: By the definition provided under that page, yes, the United States counts per its colonial holdings in Guam, Puerto Rico, and various small pacific assets as well as formerly in the Philippines and Cuba, and its long-term overseas network of military bases in client states. Simonm223 (talk) 15:55, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
But that's assuming that we want to limit the entries to "empires". We could move on from the concept of empires entirely, and include all manners of sovereign states (and rename the page accordingly). Why get hung up on the word "empire" when we can do without it altogether? TompaDompa (talk) 16:07, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
If that's the case, this page should be deleted and you should start from scratch rather than trying to back-door this page into some other WP:SYNTH list of whatever you want to include in it. I guess the question you should be asking is this: why is this page? Simonm223 (talk) 16:18, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
@Simonm223 and TompaDompa: I think such a list is not at all incompatible with an encyclopedia. What I think is that we need to move on Taagepera and include other authors. I started the process by adding some general remarks on the definition of 'Empire'. As Brzezinski states the very idea of Empire may be a modern construct. For instance, do we know if the Yuan dinasty considered themselves an Empire? etc. et.cPpteles (talk) 16:15, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Why is this list? Well, I would say that its raison d'être is to list the largest sovereign states (polities) in history. I don't see where WP:SYNTH would enter the picture if we were to move on from limiting the list to one particular kind of polity (namely empires). TompaDompa (talk) 16:26, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

This already exists though. Simonm223 (talk) 16:45, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
That's a list of extant polities at their current extent. Quite different from historical (whether extant or not) polities at their maximum extents. TompaDompa (talk) 16:54, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I think a list of largest Empires makes sense (after all there's a map of largest empires). We need to define Empire though. I suppose the wiki page for Empire could be used as inspirationPpteles (talk) 17:00, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Going back through the extensive history of the article, it seems the raison d'etre for the article was, historically to be a list of historical empires as such, trying to back-door the page into a list of historical polities because you find defining empire using RSes per Wikipedia policy bothersome seems rather off. I'm basically ready to take this to AfD with a note that I'd not oppose re-creation if it's done in accordance to WP:LIST Simonm223 (talk) 17:39, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
We could define empire by Taagepera – "any relatively large sovereign political entity whose components are not sovereign".[1] In fact, that's what we're currently doing in practice – changing the title wouldn't be "back-dooring" it into a list of historical polities, but applying a proper title to the contents. I would like to note that there is already a List of empires, so I don't think it matters much if the original raison d'être was to make a list of empires, because that purpose is already fulfilled by a different list. TompaDompa (talk) 17:48, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
But then I guess my original point stands. Is this an encyclopedia article, or an article describing Taagepera's views? I also have huge concerns over what Taagepera wrote and how he reached certain values.-Ppteles (talk) 18:19, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Basically I believe the article currently could be WP: Pulling a rabbit out of a hat, Taagepera's source, albeit reliable, seems to be some kind of [Fringe theory], based on some of the claims made, definition of empire, and values provided for these maximum extents, which as we can see, are very difficult to find anywhere else.Ppteles (talk) 18:29, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
TompaDompa - the problem is your not saying why this list is notable, just showing that Wiki does other stuff. We have an article on Empires. We have an article on large countries. We could have an article listing the largest empires but then the definition used to compile the list needs to be reliably sourced and there seems to have been a large amount of difficulty in doing this. Making a list of largest polities may also be possible, but again we need a reliably sourced definition of what a polity is. Looking at the polity article I see that the definition states that "A polity can be manifested in many different forms, such as a state, an empire, an international organization, a political organization and other identifiable, resource-manipulating organizational structures." so, for example, the UN may be included, as would the EU and NAFTA, and possibly even NATO and the Warsaw Pact. It appears that it may also include sub-divisions within a polity (e.g., individual colonies, provinces, states, etc.) - it seems a list of largest polities would be very different to this list. This list has also been compiled using a 2% world geographical land area cut-off, but this appears to be the result of original research and has no basis external to Wiki. FOARP (talk) 11:40, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
That's a good point about why "polity" should not be used. We do currently have a reliably sourced definition of empire in use (as I noted above). I don't think the use of a threshold is a problem; all lists of superlatives with a high number of potential entries need some kind of cut-off (either a limit on the number of entries or a minimum numerical value). TompaDompa (talk) 13:43, 14 September 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ Taagepera, Rein (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. JSTOR 1170959. 
How do you justify that claim? It is clearly OR. Ppteles (talk) 15:25, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
I am not sure which claim you are referring to? TompaDompa (talk) 16:16, 14 September 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This one: all lists of superlatives with a high number of potential entries need some kind of cut-off (either a limit on the number of entries or a minimum numerical value)..Ppteles (talk) 16:57, 14 September 2018 (UTC)

That's WP:COMMONSENSE; List of longest films and List of highest-grossing films cannot list all films ever made, so it's necessary to set a cut-off (a minimum numerical value is used for the former and a fixed number of entries for the latter). TompaDompa (talk) 18:39, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
Common sense dictates that it makes sense in those lists, because there are literally hundreds of thousands films ever made. What you propose goes against Wikipedia:Lists_in_Wikipedia#INC.Ppteles (talk) 02:25, 15 September 2018 (UTC)
Pointing to other lists on Wiki is just WP:WHATABOUTX, i.e., not a good argument. There is no reason for setting an arbitrary cut-off unless you can show reliable sources saying that this is the standard that should be used. FOARP (talk) 16:01, 15 September 2018 (UTC)

Portuguese Empire, Taagepera, and this article[edit]

As I have denoted previously, I don't think this article should be about Taagepera's work only. As noted by other editors there are other perfectly reasonable historians, geopolitical scientists, and others to go about without having to always measure their writings according to Taagepera's standards. In the particular case of measuring the territorial sizes of Empires at their largest extent, it seems to me that Taagepera's work is not so good - given that he made a lot of his calculations based on obscure sources and material, and Atlases to derive calculations(!) - this is particularly grave because clearly in the 1980s and 90s he had access to better ways of performing this type of calculations. In the specific case of the Portuguese empire, for instance, he used a source called 'K' which isn't even mentioned in the reference list(!). Finally, his figures are very difficult to find anywhere else. As such I have growing concerns that Taagepera's theories may as well be a Fringe theory, which although perfectly reliable and usable in encyclopaedic content, are basically just a view that isn't mainstream, and should therefore be balanced with other sources.

In the case of the Portuguese empire, there goes a point-by-point demonstration that the Portuguese controlled the Amazon basin in 1822 beyond reasonable doubt:

As such I think it becomes clear beyond reasonable doubt that there are many reasons to be concerned with basing this article *just* on Taagepera's work. In fact, I believe the article in its current form may as well be WP: Pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Also, it makes very little point to *arbitrarily* define a threshold, which very likely constitutes 'original research'. Ppteles (talk) 22:01, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

Taagepera's sources and reliability[edit]

  • Taagepera's article in this paper from Social Science Research says on page 114, "Among the historical atlases used, it was found that the three-volume Grosser Historische Weltatlas edited by Engel (1953- 1970) was the most versatile and inclusive." This is repeated thoughout his later works. This German atlas contains images such as this this one. This article is solely based on a man who measured maps using those images. Are we certain this is truly reliable?Ppteles (talk) 22:52, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Another example.Ppteles (talk) 23:19, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
EDIT: Two previous images were mentioned which were *wrong* for which I apologise. My point still stands.Ppteles (talk) 23:23, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

Size of Japanese Empire[edit]

Currently, per TompaDompa's edit, the size of the Empire of Japan appears as being 8.51 km2. This is clearly false. If you sum up the land areas of the territories occupied by Japan in WWII, a list of which is here, you obtain circa 5.8 million km2, not counting occupied China, pretty far from the value provided here. And this is assuming that Japan controlled the entirety of New Guinea, of Indonesia, and 3 million km2 of Chinese territory which seems false. I'd like to ask if TompaDompa can reproduce these results from other sources?Ppteles (talk) 15:46, 14 September 2018 (UTC)

Reminder that summing up measurements from multiple sources constitutes WP:SYNTH suggest you find reliable sources for areas. Simonm223 (talk) 15:49, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
I know, but thanks for reminding me. I was just really curious to know since it seems the value isn't reproducible in other sources. I presume the current value on the table takes into account ocean areas that were also controlled, but not 100% certain about it.Ppteles (talk) 02:22, 15 September 2018 (UTC)
I assume it includes territories in Mainland China. And please, can we stop the edit-warring with TompaDompa please Ppteles? We're supposed to be colleagues here, and assume good faith. TompaDompa has cited a source, the source appears to be RS, and that's the end of the analysis. If you know of an alternate RS that gives a different figure, then cite that too. FOARP (talk) 15:56, 15 September 2018 (UTC)
What do you mean, I just think that this is wrong. I did provide alternative values, and proposed several ways of going about this list, including several columns with different estimates by different authors, none of which seem to have gained much praise from the other editors.Ppteles (talk) 04:15, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
@FOARP: You have endorsed Zbignew Brezinski as a reliable source for this topic (while he was not an historian and the main topic of his book has nothing to do with this article) and user Ppteles used this as a reason to remove the Taagepera source and figure about the Portuguese Empire. I think that if the sources disagree about the size of an Empire, then both figures should be equally represented in the list, per WP:WEIGHT. Thoughts ?---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 20:08, 22 September 2018 (UTC)
OMG you keep insisting that Rein Taagepera is a historian, when it has been shown to you countless times that this isn't so. If you insist on this, I must assume that you are not here in good faith. Ppteles (talk) 04:13, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
@Ppteles: I think you should read carefully what people say and refrain from making baseless accusations. Since you have some difficulties to understand what i said above, i'll make it clear : Let's say that Taagepera is not an historian, why should we list only Brezinski's figure while he is not a historian either ? At least, Taagepraa's book is focused on the size of empires, this is not by any mean Bresinski's case. Last point, i would like to have FOARP's opinion about this, since i already know your opinion.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 10:54, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
You keep the aggressive dialogue which is clearly against wikipedia policies. Both Brzesinski and Taagepera are considered RS in this article. There have been a number of proposals to change this which you and others have decided to ignore. How about constructive editing rather? I have proposed, for instance to have different columns for several authors, which has been vastly ignored. As have other criticisms made, which are not being enforced. Ppteles (talk) 20:29, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
As I've said a number of times, Brzezinski and Taagepera appear to both be RS's for this. Brzezinksi is an expert in international relations and this is clearly a relevant area of expertise. Historians are not the only people with expertise in this area. FOARP (talk) 19:06, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
"You keep the aggressive dialogue which is clearly against wikipedia policies" : For the last time Ppteles, stop making defamatory statements since this is against Wiki policies (see this). If you really think that my behavior goes against Wikip policies, then go ahead and report me, otherwise, stop your baseless accusations please. Thanks.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 20:52, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
what have been your contributions other than refusing to accept an otherwise reliable source and insisting in adding OR to the article? I don’t want to report you I am asking you to stop this. Ppteles (talk) 22:11, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
"I don’t want to report you I am asking you to stop this" : You don't own this article dude, you'll have to discuss this further. Also, if you keep edit warring instead of finfing a consensus, i'll report you (again).---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 22:29, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
first I am not your ‘dude’, so please refrain from using this type of language with me. Second, again, what have your contributions to this article been? Where were you when I asked for mediation? When tHid article was selected for deletion? When I presented a series of solutions to the article? Nowhere? You come back after a week, and after a fellow countryman of yours was blocked, also here and here, talking about something that has been settled and moreover disrupting this, confronting fellow Wikipedians in a very aggressive tone (I’m not referring to myself). And please stop menacing me too. Ppteles (talk) 22:39, 23 September 2018 (UTC)

Reliability of sources[edit]

@FOARP: Thanks for your above answer, However, i would draw your attention on the fact that you say that Brezinski and Taagepera are both reliable but only Brezinski's figure is listed in the article, this is why numerous editors consider this list as unbalanced. Also, Brezinski's book is not mainly focused on historical Empires, it's a piece of work about 20th century, how can this kind of book be reliable for the size of ancient Empires ? Brezinski's book contains a passing mention about the size of empires while Taagepera's work is focused about this topic, therefore, Taagepera's figures should be given here. Please let me know if you think that i'm mistaken. Thanks again.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 21:13, 23 September 2018 (UTC)

Perhaps this has to do with your grasp of the English language but the problem with this article being unbalanced is not to fo with using Brzezinski but Taagepera. So your argument is not solid. Finally stop the disruptive editing - it has been shown to you countless times that introducing an arbitrary threshold is OR. Ppteles (talk) 22:08, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
"Perhaps this has to do with your grasp of the English language" : Don't know what you're talking about, although noat a native speaker, my English is enough advanced to make me understand and discuss this matter. You seem to be just out of argumments.---Wikaviani (talk) (contribs) 22:35, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
Running out of arguments? What you're saying is not factual. This article is criticized for excessive use of Taagepera as a source, hence why I have used Brzezinski. Ppteles (talk) 22:53, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
it has been shown to you countless times that introducing an arbitrary threshold is OR. No, it hasn't. You have asserted that it is. TompaDompa (talk) 14:29, 24 September 2018 (UTC)