Page protected with pending changes level 1

List of largest empires

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from World's largest empires)
Jump to: navigation, search

An empire involves the extension of a state's sovereignty over external territories and variety of different ethnic groups. The term "empire" in this context (not necessarily a state ruled by an emperor) does not have a precise definition, but is generally applied to political entities that are considered to be especially large by the standards of their time and that have acquired a significant part of their territory by conquest. This article provides a list of the largest empires in world history, but the list is not and cannot be definitive since the decision about which entities to consider as "empires" is difficult and fraught with controversy.

There are various notions of size that can be used to rank empires, including area, population, and economy. For each of these notions, only estimates can be given in the case of most historical empires. Furthermore, there is usually no clear consensus among historians regarding the best estimate – if only because there is often no unambiguous information about an empire's historical boundaries or population. Thus, the values given here should be interpreted as only indicative and not as determining an accurate ranking.

Measurement[edit]

Both what constitutes an empire and the calculation of the land area of a particular empire are controversial subjects. Taagepera defines an empire as "any relatively large sovereign political entity whose components are not sovereign" and its size as the area over which the empire has some undisputed military and taxation prerogatives.[1]

Due to the historical trend of increasing population and GDP, the most recent empires tend to score highest in these categories, so the list of largest empires by population or GDP is highly dependent on which recent political entities are defined as empires. The measures of population and GDP as a percentage of the world total can be used to compensate for this historical growth and ensure that each empire is judged by the standards of its own time. However, decent GDP data is only available for the last few centuries, and accurate data only for the last few decades.

Largest empires by land area[edit]

For context, note that the total land area of the Earth is 148,940,000 km2 (57,500,000 sq mi).[2]

Empires at their greatest extent[edit]

Empire Max. land area (million km2) Max. land area (million mi2)  % of world land area Era
British Empire 35.5[3] 13.71 23.84% 1920[3]
Mongol Empire 24.0[3][4] 9.27 16.11% 1270[4] or 1309[3]
Russian Empire 22.8[3][4] 8.8 15.31% 1895[3][4]
Qing dynasty 14.7[3][4] 5.68 9.87% 1790[3][4]
Spanish Empire 13.7[3] 5.29 9.2% 1810[3]
Second French colonial empire 11.5[3] 4.44 7.72% 1920[3]
Abbasid Caliphate 11.1[3][4] 4.29 7.45% 750[3][4]
Umayyad Caliphate 11.1[3] 4.29 7.45% 720[3]
Yuan dynasty 11.0[3] 4.25 7.39% 1310[3]
Xiongnu Empire 9.0[4][5] 3.47 6.04% 176 BC[4][5]
Empire of Brazil 8.51[3] 3.29 5.71% 1900[3]
Ming dynasty 6.5[3][4] 2.51 4.36% 1450[3][4]
Rashidun Caliphate 6.4[3] 2.47 4.3% 654[3]
Han dynasty 6.0[4] or 6.5[5] 2.32 or 2.51 4.03% or 4.36% 50 BC[4] or 100[5]
Göktürk Khaganate 6.0[4][5] 2.32 4.03% 557[4][5]
Golden Horde Khanate 6.0[3][4] 2.32 4.03% 1310[3][4]
Achaemenid Empire 5.5[4][5] 2.12 3.69% 500 BC[4][5]
Portuguese Empire 5.5[3] 2.12 3.69% 1820[3]
Tang dynasty 5.4[3][4] 2.08 3.63% 715[3][4]
Macedonian Empire 5.2[4][5] 2.01 3.49% 323 BC[4][5]
Ottoman Empire 5.2[3][4] 2.01 3.49% 1683,[3][4] 1829,[3] or 1850[3]
Maurya Empire 5.0[4] 1.93 3.36% 250 BC[4]
Roman Empire 5.0[4][5] 1.93 3.36% 117[4][5]
Tibetan Empire 4.6[3][4] 1.78 3.09% 800[3][4]
Timurid Empire 4.4[3][4] 1.7 2.95% 1405[3][4]
Fatimid Caliphate 4.1[3][4] 1.58 2.75% 969[3][4]
Eastern Turkic Khaganate 4.0[5] 1.54 2.69% 624[5]
Hephthalite Empire 4.0[5] 1.54 2.69% 470[5]
Hunnic Empire 4.0[4][5] 1.54 2.69% 441[4][5]
Mughal Empire 4.0[3][4] 1.54 2.69% 1690[3][4]
Great Seljuq Empire 3.9[3][4] 1.51 2.62% 1080[3][4]
Seleucid Empire 3.9[4][5] 1.51 2.62% 301 BC[4][5]
Ilkhanate 3.75[3][4] 1.45 2.52% 1310[3][4]
Khwarazmian Empire 3.6[3] 1.39 2.42% 1218[3]
Chagatai Khanate 3.5[3][4] 1.35 2.35% 1310[3] or 1350[3][4]
Gupta Empire 3.5[4] 1.35 2.35% 400[4]
Sasanian Empire 3.5[4][5] 1.35 2.35% 550[4][5]
Western Turkic Khaganate 3.5[5] 1.35 2.35% 630[5]
Ghaznavid Empire 3.4[3][4] 1.31 2.28% 1029[3][4]
Delhi Sultanate 3.2[3][4] 1.24 2.15% 1312[3][4]
Song dynasty 3.1[4] 1.2 2.08% 980[4]
Uyghur Khaganate 3.1[3][4] 1.2 2.08% 800[3][4]
Western Jin dynasty 3.1[5] 1.2 2.08% 280[5]
Khazar Khanate 3.0[4] 1.16 2.01% 850[4]
Sui Dynasty 3.0[5] 1.16 2.01% 589[3]

Largest empires by population[edit]

Empire Max. population (million)  % of world population
British Empire 533.0 (in 1938)[6][contradictory] 20.00% (458 million out of 2.295 billion in 1938)[6][contradictory]
Qing dynasty 432.2 (in 1851)[7]
Mughal Empire 150.0 (in 1700) 24.8% (150.0 million out of 610 million[8])[when?]
Northern Song Dynasty 123.0 (in 1103)[9][10]
Mongol Empire 110.0 (in the 13th century)[11] 25.60% (110.0 million out of 429 million[12] in the 13th century)
Ming dynasty 110.0 (in 1600)[13][14]
Southern Song dynasty 73.0 (in 1193).[9][15]
Roman Empire 70.0 (in the 2nd century AD)[5][16][17] 21.00% (70 million in 150 AD)[18]
Earlier Zhao dynasty 64 (in 156)[9][19]
Yuan dynasty 59.8 (in 1291)[9][20] 17.10% (59.8 million out of 350 million in 1290)[citation needed]
Gupta Empire 58 (in 400 AD)[6] 26.36% (58.0 million out of 220 million in 400 AD)[6]
Han dynasty 58.0 (in 2 AD)[9][21]
Sui Dynasty 53.0 (in 606)[9][22]
Achaemenid Empire 50.0 (in 480 BC)[23] 44.48% (50 million out of 112.4 million in 480 BC)[24][25]
Maurya Empire 50–60 (in the 2nd century BC) 33%–40% (50–60 million out of 150 million in the 2nd century BC.[26][27]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Taagepera, Rein (1 January 1979). "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.". Social Science History. 3 (3/4): 117. doi:10.2307/1170959. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  2. ^ CIA – The World Factbook
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf Rein Taagepera (September 1997). "Expansion and Contraction Patterns of Large Polities: Context for Russia". International Studies Quarterly. 41 (3): 475–504. doi:10.1111/0020-8833.00053. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj Turchin, Peter; Adams, Jonathan M.; Hall, Thomas D (December 2006). "East-West Orientation of Historical Empires". Journal of world-systems research. 12 (2): 219–229. ISSN 1076-156X. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab Taagepera, Rein (1 January 1979). "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.". Social Science History. 3 (3/4): 115–138. doi:10.2307/1170959. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d Harrison (1998, pp. 3,7).
  7. ^ Recorded number of persons in 1851 is 432,164,047 according to Draft History of Qing.
  8. ^ Colin McEvedy and Richard Jones (1978), "Atlas of World Population History", Facts on File (p. 183, p. 342). New York.
  9. ^ a b c d e f (a) John D. Durand, 1960, "The Population Statistics of China, A.D. 2–1953", Population Studies Vol. 13 (No. 3), 209–256. (b) John D. Durand, 1974, "Historical Estimates of World Population: An Evaluation", University of Pennsylvania, Population Center, Analytical and Technical Reports, Number 10.
  10. ^ Recorded number of persons and households in 1103 are 45,981,845 and 20,524,065, respectively (Song Huiyao), while recorded peak number of persons and households are 46,734,784 and 20,882,438 in 1109, respectively (Song Huiyao).
  11. ^ The combined population of China and Korea in the 13th century was 83 in Biraben (2003[page needed]). The combined population of Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia, Iran, Iraq and Turkey was about 27 in Maddison (2006[page needed]).
  12. ^ Biraben, Jean-Noel (January 1979). "Essai sur l'evolution du nombre des hommes". Population (French Edition). Institut national d'études démographiques. 34 (1): 13–25. doi:10.2307/1531855. 
  13. ^ Jean-Noël Biraben, "The History of the Human Population From the First Beginnings to the Present" in Demography: Analysis and Synthesis: A Treatise in Population (Eds: Graziella Caselli, Jacques Vallin, Guillaume J. Wunsch), Vol. III, Chapter 66, pp 5–18, Academic Press:San Diego (2005).
  14. ^ Recorded number of persons and households in 1393 are 60,545,812 and 10,652,870, respectively (Ming Hui Dian), while recorded peak number of persons and households are 66,598,337 and 11,415,829 in 1403, respectively (Book of Ming).
  15. ^ Recorded number of persons and households in 1193 are 27,845,085 and 12,302,873, respectively (Wenxian Tongkao), while recorded peak number of persons and households are 28,320,085 and 12,670.801 in 1223, respectively (Wenxian Tongkao).
  16. ^ Mclynn Frank "Marcus Aurelius" p. 4. Published by The Bodley Head 2009
  17. ^ There are several different estimates for the Roman Empire. Scheidel (2006, p. 2) estimates 60. Goldsmith (1984, p. 263) estimates 55. Beloch (1886, p. 507) estimates 54. Maddison (2006, p. 51, 120) estimates 48. Roman Empire Population estimates 65 (while mentioning several other estimates between 55 and 120 ).
  18. ^ Scheidel, Walter; Friesen, Steven J. (Nov. 2009): "The Size of the Economy and the Distribution of Income in the Roman Empire", The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 99, pp. 61–91
  19. ^ Recorded number of persons and households in 156 are 56,486,856 and 10,677,960 respectively (Book of the Later Han).
  20. ^ Recorded number of persons and households in 1290 are 58,834,711 and 13,196,206, respectively (History of Yuan), while recorded peak number of persons and households are 59,848,964 and 13,430,322 in 1291, respectively (History of Yuan).
  21. ^ Recorded number of persons and households in AD 2 are 58,594,978 and 12,233,062, respectively (Book of Han).
  22. ^ Recorded number of persons and households are 46,019,956 and 8,907,546, respectively, in 606 (Tongdian) or 609 (Book of Sui).
  23. ^ While estimates for the Achaemenid Empire range from 10–80+ million, most prefer 40–50 million. Prevas (2009, p. 14) estimates 10 [1]. Langer (2001, p. 40) estimates around 16 2. McEvedy and Jones (2001, p. 50) estimates 17 3. Strauss (2004, p. 37) estimates about 20 4. Ward (2009, p. 16) estimates at 20 5. Aperghis (2007, p. 311) estimates 32 6. Scheidel (2009, p. 99) estimates 35 7. Zeinert (1996, p. 32) estimates 40 8. Rawlinson and Schauffler (1898, p. 270) estimates possibly 50 9. Astor (1899, p. 56) estimates almost 50 10. Lissner (1961, p. 111) estimates probably 50 11. Milns (1968, p. 51) estimates some 50 12. Hershlag (1980, p. 140) estimates nearly 50 13. Daniel (2001, p. 41) estimates at 50 15. Meyer and Andreades (2004, p. 58) estimates to 50 16. Pollack (2004, p. 7) estimates about 50 17. Jones (2004, p. 8) estimates over 50 18. Safire (2007, p. 627) estimates in 50 19. Dougherty (2009, p. 6) estimates about 70 20. Richard (2008, p. 34) estimates nearly 70 21. Mitchell (2004, p. 16) estimates over 70 22. Hanson (2001, p. 32) estimates almost 75 23. West (1913, p. 85) estimates about 75 24. Zenos (1889, p. 2) estimates exactly 75 25. Cowley (1999 and 2001, p. 17) estimates possibly 80 26. Cook (1904, p. 277) estimates exactly 80 27.
  24. ^ Yarshater (1996, p. 47)
  25. ^ «Five Empires That Were Close to World Domination». Joseph Kaminski. March 20, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  26. ^ Boesche, Roger (2003-03-01). The First Great Political Realist: Kautilya and His Arthashastra. p. 11. ISBN 9780739106075. 
  27. ^ Demeny, Paul George; McNicoll, Geoffrey (May 2003). Encyclopedia of population. ISBN 9780028656793. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Jonathan M. Adams, Thomas D. Hall and Peter Turchin (2004). East-West Orientation of Historical Empires. University of Connecticut.
  • J. Beloch (1886), Die Bevölkerung der griechisch–römischen Welt, Duncker and Humblot, Leipzig.
  • Jean-Noël Biraben (2003). "The rising numbers of humankind", Populations & Societies 394.
  • Roger Boesche (2003). "Kautilya's Arthashastra on War and Diplomacy in Ancient India", The Journal of Military History 67 (p. 9–38).
  • Raymond W. Goldsmith (1984), "An estimate of the size and structure of the national product of the Early Roman Empire", Journal of the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth 30
  • Mark Harrison (1998). The Economics of World War II: Six Great Powers in International Comparison.
  • Angus Maddison (2006). The Contours of the World Economy 1–2030 AD. Oxford University Press.
  • Colin McEvedy and Richard Jones (1978), "Atlas of World Population History", Facts on File (p. 342–351). New York.
  • Walter Scheidel (2006). Imperial state formation in Rome and China.[dead link] Stanford University.

External links[edit]