List of largest empires

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An empire involves the extension of a state's sovereignty over external territories and variety of different ethnic groups. The term "empire" 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. For example, first the Spanish Empire and then the British Empire were called "the empires on which the sun never sets", because of their vast territories and possessions around the globe. 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. 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 generally be interpreted as being only indicative and not as determining an accurate ranking.


The calculation of the land area of a particular empire is controversial. In general, the list aims to include all land that was explored and explicitly claimed, even if the areas were populated very sparsely or not at all. For example, a large portion of Northern Siberia is included in the size of the Russian Empire but not the Mongol Empire. The Mongol Empire's northern border was somewhat ill-defined, but in most places it was simply the natural border between the steppe and the taiga. At the time the majority of the taiga and tundra were unexplored and uninhabited, and the Mongol Empire did not claim them as its own. This area was only very sparsely populated by the Russian Empire, but it had been explicitly claimed by the Russian Empire by the 17th century, and its extent had been entirely explored by the late 19th century. Similarly, the northernmost Canadian islands such as Ellesmere Island were explored and claimed by the British Empire by the mid-19th century (virtually the entire mainland was at least sparsely populated well before that).

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.

Debates regarding definition of imperial domains[edit]

Compilations of history's largest empires (in both geographical size and population) often vary due to differing definitions of imperial borders throughout history and across distinct historical traditions. Imperial domains have been variously defined in terms of direct administrative rule from a common ruling authority, military presence, colonization and settlement, collection of tribute, economic dependence, or even incorporation into a common trading or ideological network. Many imperial domains have therefore enjoyed varying degrees of autonomy, self-rule, or even outright independence (though sometimes with a dependent or protectorate relationship to a stronger power). Some regions claimed by an imperial authority have been large, yet arid and very sparsely populated lands without much administrative control whatsoever. Therefore, empires can vary in size according to these designations, often quite significantly.

For example in India, which experienced varying levels of European contact and imperial forays since Vasco da Gama's expeditions in 1497–1498, French, Dutch, Portuguese and especially British authorities claimed authority over increasing portions of the Indian Subcontinent. This process culminated in the period of the British Raj (and its smaller French and Portuguese counterparts) after 1857. Approximately half of Indian territory consisted of Princely States under de facto and de jure rule of local rajas and maharajas. Furthermore, the Indian independence Act, which ended the British presence by 1948, did not apply to the Princely States, which required separate negotiations with the new Indian nation as independent states in themselves. Nevertheless, the Indian princes acknowledged the suzerainty of the British monarchy, had no control of their foreign policy, and were subject to high levels of British interference in their internal affairs.

Another issue is that many of history's empires have ruled over vast and mostly uninhabited territorial expanses, sparsely populated by largely autonomous tribes, and with little in the way of direct administration or settlement by an imperial power. For example, various Mongol khanates from the 13th century established dominion over arid steppes in Central Asia and Siberia that were difficult to control from a central authority, as was the case with the expansionist Tsardom of Russia empires from the 17th century, which established control in the same regions. In both cases, administrative structures and settlements were gradually introduced into the regions—with Russian settlers, for example, initiating forts and frontier cities in the 19th century in particular—and so the size of each empire in any given decade would depend on how strict one's criteria are in regard to the presence of true settlement and administration. Likewise, in more recent history, almost half the land expanse that is often regarded as part of the British Empire consisted of essentially barren and uninhabitable terrain in Canada and the interior of Australia, which was often difficult to even map, let alone settle and administer. Even today, the population of those regions (particularly in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories of Canada) consists largely of sparse settlements of self-governing indigenous peoples, with little in the way of submission to a central ruling authority.

During the Muslim conquests of the 7th and early 8th centuries, Rashidun armies established the Caliphate, or Islamic Empire, one of the largest empires ever. The 7th century saw the introduction of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula, where Muhammad established a new unified political polity in the Arabian Peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion of Arab power well beyond the Arabian peninsula in the form of a vast Muslim Arab Empire with an area of influence that stretched from northwest India, across Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, southern Italy, and the Iberian Peninsula, to the Pyrenees. However, internal feuding among ruling figures in the empire led it to fragment into several states under separate administrations, such as the Umayyads (whose rule continued in Spain after it collapsed elsewhere), Abbasids, Ayyubids, Mamluks and many others. These were in addition to a variety of other Muslim states in Sudan, Indonesia and elsewhere that later arose outside of the main Islamic Empires, through trade and other contacts. Thus, the size of these empires vary depending on how "membership" in the empire is defined—as being under a single administration, accepting a particular ruler or following the dictates of the Caliph (which technically, Sunni Muslims in general were expected to do).

Similarly, the Mongol Empire lost its unity upon the death of the Great Khan Möngke during fighting in China in 1259, with the Golden Horde's Berke Khan and the Ilkhanate's Hulagu Khan even taking up arms against each other and supporting rival factions for selection of the Great Khan. However, upon the death of Berke—a Muslim—the religious impetus for conflict among the khanates subsided, with the Mongols again supposedly loyal to the new Great Khan Kublai before fragmenting yet again later. If the khanates are considered to have been a unified Mongol Empire under Kublai—stretching from Korea and China in the east through Siberia and Central Asia and into Persia and Eastern Europe in the west—it would easily be the world's largest in terms of both land area and population (as a percentage of the world total). A related question arises with the granting of dominion and commonwealth statuses among former imperial domains, in which the domains acquire a high degree of self-rule, equivalent to independence in some estimations. For example, the Australian colonies, which federated in 1901, attained dominion status in 1907, which may or may not have indicated a departure from the British Empire, depending on interpretation of the status.

Finally, many of history's empires have had unusual arrangements among multiple powers, such as joint rule by several authorities, layers of rule (with different powers assuming different levels of administrative authority), territorial division with blurred boundaries or other forms of empire without a single obvious central authority. For example, the Manchus, who established the Qing Dynasty in 17th-century China, also conquered nomadic lands to the north, including Mongolia. The Manchus increasingly merged with the Chinese population over the centuries, so that the administration took on both Manchu and Chinese features with no clear division among them. The Mongol chieftains of Outer Mongolia in particular, pledged loyalty to the Manchus but retained substantial autonomy, and when the Qing Dynasty collapsed in the early 20th century, the status of Outer Mongolia relative to the new Chinese state became unclear. Lastly, there is the opposite case of a nation being nominally independent but under de facto control of another power. Britain had a very complicated arrangement with Egypt and Sudan. Egyptian forces battled the British in the Alexandria Expedition in 1807, but in the wake of this, British officials exerted varying degrees of sway in Egypt especially by the late 19th century, with the French also assuming a role in the Suez Canal territory. Sudan, in turn, was technically a colony of the Egyptians, but the British exerted de facto sway on Sudan indirectly via Egypt. Thus, accounts vary on the imperial status (or lack thereof) of both Egypt and Sudan. In the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution, many nations took on a Communist character and attached themselves to the global Communist center of the Soviet Union. Mongolia, North Korea, and China following Communist victory in the Chinese civil war, all took guidance from the Soviet Union especially in the years just after their Communist transformations. The Soviet Union also exercised varying control over Eastern Europe via the Warsaw Pact even though the Pact countries were formally independent, while Communist nations in Africa and Latin America also sought Soviet guidance. Therefore, the lists of largest empires below represent merely a sample of possible rankings depending on the specific criteria used to define an empire.

European colonial empires[edit]

The first global empires were a product of the European Age of Exploration that began with a race of exploration between the then most advanced maritime powers, Portugal and Spain, in the 15th century. The initial impulse behind these maritime empires and those that followed was trade, driven by the new ideas and the capitalism that grew out of the European Renaissance. Agreements were also reached to divide the world up between them in 1479, 1493, and 1494.

Portugal began establishing the first global trade network and empire under the leadership of Henry the Navigator. Portugal would eventually establish colonial domains from Brazil, in South America, to several colonies in Africa (namely Portuguese Guinea, Portuguese Cape Verde, Portuguese São Tomé and Príncipe, Portuguese Angola and Portuguese Mozambique), in Portuguese India (most importantly Bombay and Goa), in China (Macau), and Oceania (most importantly Timor, namely Portuguese Timor), amongst many other smaller or short-lived possessions (see Evolution of the Portuguese Empire).

During its peak, the Spanish Empire had possession of the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, most of Italy, parts of Germany, parts of France, and many colonies in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania. With the conquest of inland Mexico, Peru, and the Philippines in the 16th century, Spain established overseas dominions on a scale and world distribution that had never been approached by its predecessors (the Mongol Empire had been larger but was restricted to Eurasia). Possessions in Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, the Americas, the Pacific Ocean, and the Far East qualified the Spanish Empire as attaining a global presence in this sense.

In 1580, Philip II of Spain inherited the vacant Portuguese throne and became Philip I of Portugal. The Spanish Empire was at it greatest extent at that time, including most of the Americas, Italy, The Seventeen Provinces, and smaller regions of Europe, Asia and Africa. The Portuguese Empire, also significant, included Brazil and the Portuguese colonies in Africa and Asia. Even though the empires continued to be administered separately, this so-called "union of crowns" resulted in one of the largest empires of all time, and the saying "the sun never sets..." was used for the first time. The Iberian Union lasted until 1640 when Portugal restored a Portuguese king to the throne.

Subsequent global empires included the French, Dutch, and British empires. The latter, consolidated during the period of British maritime hegemony in the 19th century, became the largest of all empires by virtue of the improved transportation technologies of the time. At its height, the British Empire covered a quarter of the Earth's land area and comprised one fifth of its population. Germany and Italy were unified later than the other major European countries and so they joined other European powers in establishing colonies overseas only during the "Scramble for Africa" in the 19th century. By the 1860s, the Russian Empire — continued as the Soviet Union — became the largest contiguous state in the world. Present-day Russia continues this distinction, despite having lost its Soviet periphery (Russia today includes slightly over half the world's longitudes).

Largest empires by land area and population[edit]

For context, note that the total land area of the Earth is 148,940,000 km2 (57,500,000 sq mi).[1]

All empires at their greatest extent[edit]

EmpireMax. land area (million km2)Max. land area (million mi2) % of world land areaEraMax. population (million) % of world population
British Empire33.7[2]13.0122.63%1922[2]458.0 (in 1938)[3]20.00% (458 million out of 2.295 billion in 1938)[3]
Mongol Empire33.0[4][5][6][7]12.7422.29%1279[8]110.0 (in the 13th century)[9]25.60% (110.0 million out of 429 million[10] in the 13th century)
Russian Empire22.8[11][12]8.8015.31%1866176.4 in 19139.80% (176.4 million out of 1.791 billion[13] in 1913)
Spanish Empire19.4[11][12][14]7.4913.04%17401790 (approx.)[15]68.2[16]12.30% (68.2 million out of 556 million[13] in the 17th century)
Umayyad Caliphate15.0[17]5.7910.07%66175062.0 (in the 7th century)28.80% (62.0 million out of 208 million in the 7th century)
Qing dynasty14.75.689.87%1759[8][18]432.2 in 1851.[19]36.60% (381.0 million out of 1.041 billion in 1820)[13]
Yuan dynasty14.05.419.40%1310[18]59.8 in 1291.[20][21]17.10% (59.8 million out of 350 million in 1290)
Second French colonial empire13.05.028.73%1938[15]112.9 in 19385.10% (112.9 million out of 2.295 billion in 1938)
Abbasid Caliphate11.14.297.45%7501258[18]44.0 (in 850)20.00% (50.0 million out of 250 million in 850)[13]
Portuguese Empire10.44.026.98%1815[15]
Rashidun Caliphate9.03.486.04%654[18][22]40.319.10% (40.3 million out of 210 million in 7th century)
Empire of Brazil8.53.285.71%18809.9 (in 1872)[23]
First French colonial empire8.15.44%175430 (in 1754)[24]
Achaemenid Empire8.03.085.36%500 BC[25]50.0 (in 480 BC)[26]44.48% (50 million out of 112.4 million in 480 BC)[27]
Empire of Japan7.42.864.97%1942[15]134.8 in 19385.90% (134.8 million out of 2.295 billion[13] in 1938)
Sasanian Empire6.62.554.44%621[8]25.0 (in the 7th century AD)12.00% (25.0 million out of 210 million[28] in the 7th century AD)
Ming dynasty6.52.514.36%1450[8][18]110.0 in 1600.[29][30]19.57% (110.0 million out of 556.2 million in 1600)[13]
Han dynasty6.0[31]2.514.36%100[32]58.0 in 2[20][33]19.3% (58 million out of 300 million[13] in 2 AD)
Göktürk Khaganate6.02.324.03%557[8][32]6.02.0
Golden Horde Khanate6.02.324.03%1310[8][18]
Tang dynasty5.4[34]2.013.75%715[8][18]80.0 (in the 8th century)38.09% (80.0 million out of 210 million in the 8th century AD)[25]
Macedonian Empire5.22.013.49%323 BC[8][35]30.00% (50.0 million out of 165 million[13] in the 4th century BC)
Ottoman Empire5.22.003.49%1683[8][18]35.3 in 18567.10% (39.0 million out of 556 million[13] in 1683)
Maurya Empire5.0-4.03%265 BC[8]68.0 in the 2nd century BC43.30% (68.0 million out of 150 million in the 2nd century BC[36])
Mughal Empire5.01.932.69%1707.[8][18][37]175.0 in 170029.20% (175.0 million out of 600 million[38] in 1700)
Northern Yuan Dynasty, Mongolia5.01.933.36%1550[18]
Roman Empire5.0[39] [8]2.513.64%11770.0 (in 2nd century AD)[40][41][39]21.00% (70 million in 150 AD)[42]

↑ Jump up to: 22.0 22.1

First Mexican Empire4.91.893.29%1822[citation needed]
Xin dynasty4.701.823.16%10[32]
Pala Empire4.6[citation needed]1.783.09%85024.00%[not in citation given] (60.0 million out of 250 million in 850)[13][dead link]
Tibetan Empire4.61.783.09%800[18][43]25.08.333%
Byzantine Empire4.51.353.00%555[32]30.0 in 555-60010.00% (30.0 million out of 300 million in 600)[13]
Timurid Empire4.41.702.95%1405[8][18]50.0011.36% (50.0 million out of 440 million in 1400)[13]
Fatimid Caliphate4.11.582.75%969[8][18]
Xiongnu Empire4.031.562.71%176 BC[44]
Hephthalite Empire4.01.542.69%490[32]
Hunnic Empire4.01.542.69%441[32]
Eastern Turks Khanate4.01.542.69%624[32]
Rouran Khaganate Juan-juan4.01.542.69%405[8][32]
Western Turks Khanate4.01.542.69%630[32]
Great Seljuq Empire3.91.512.62%1080[8][18]
Italian Empire3.81.472.55%1940[citation needed]51.9 in 19382.30% (51.9 million out of 2.295 billion in 1938)
Kushan Empire3.81.472.55%200[32]19.00% (42.37 million out of 223 million in 140)[13]
Dutch Empire3.71.432.48%1940[citation needed]60.0 in 1940.3.50% (60.0 million out of 1.700 billion in 1907)
Chola Empire3.61.392.42%1050[45][46]
Khwarazmian Empire3.61.392.42%1218[18]20.0 in 12005.00%
Chagatai Khanate3.51.352.35%1310 or 1350[8][18]
German colonial empire3.51.352.35%1914[citation needed]64.9 in 19143.70% (64.9 million out of 1.753 billion in 1910)
Gupta Empire3.51.053.9%400[8]26.36% (58.0 million out of 220 million in 400 AD)[3]
Northern Song Dynasty3.51.352.35%1100[8][18]123.0 in 1103[20][47]22.00% (59.0 million out of 268 million in 1000)[13]
Safavid dynasty, Iran3.51.352.35%1512[citation needed]
Shaybanid Uzbek Dynasty3.51.352.35%1510[18]
Western Jin dynasty3.51.352.35%300[32]48.0 in 1195.[20][48]
Ghaznavid Empire, Iran3.41.312.28%1029[8][18]
Almoravid dynasty, Morocco3.31.272.22%1147[18]
Ghurids Sultanate3.21.242.15%1200[18]
Tughlaq dynasty3.21.242.15%1320[18]18.91% (70.0 million out of 370 million in 1330)[13]
Median Empire3.11.081.88%585 BC[8][35]
Parthian Empire3.11.081.88%1[8][35]
Sui dynasty3.11.202.08%610[18]53.0 in 606[20][49]
Uyghur Khaganate3.11.202.08%800[8][18]
Afsharid dynasty3.01.162.01%1738[citation needed]
Armenian Empire3.01.512.62%69 BC[8][35]
Danish colonial empire3.01.162.01%1800[citation needed]
Grand Duchy of Moscow3.01.162.01%1505[citation needed]
Kalmar Union3.01.162.01%1397[citation needed]
Kara-Khanid Khanate3.01.162.01%1025[18]
Khazar Khanate3.01.162.01%850[8]
Qajar dynasty3.01.162.01%1796[citation needed]
Seleucid Empire3.01.512.62%301 BC[8][35]
Samanid dynasty2.851.101.91%928[8][18]
Eastern Jin dynasty2.81.081.88%347[32]
Liu Song dynasty2.81.081.88%420[32]
Maratha Empire2.80.971.68%1760[8]
Qin dynasty2.81.081.88%206 BC[32]
Khilji dynasty2.71.041.81%1312 or 1320[8][18]
Majapahit Empire2.71.041.81%1389[32]
Liao dynasty2.61.001.75%947[8][18]
Belgian Empire2.50.971.68%1914[citation needed]
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom2.50.971.68%184[32]
Hotaki Empire2.50.971.68%1722[citation needed]
Jurchen Jin dynasty2.30.891.54%1126[8][18]
Kara-Khitan Khanate Western Liao2.50.971.68%1210[8]
Later Zhao dynasty2.50.971.68%329[32]
Indo-Greek Kingdom2.50.971.68%150 BC[32]
Southern Qi dynasty2.30.891.54%502[32]
Southern Song dynasty2.10.811.41%1127[18]73.0 in 1193.[20][50]
Bahriyya Mamluks2.10.811.41%1300[18]
Burjiyya Mamluks2.10.811.41%1400[8]
First French Empire2.10.811.41%1813[18]
Kievan Rus'2.10.811.41%1000[8][18]
Ayyubid Caliphate2.01.040.77%1190[8]
Durrani Empire2.00.771.34%1757[51]
Wei dynasty2.00.771.34%263[32]
Earlier Zhao dynasty2.00.771.34%316[32]64 in 156[20][52]
Former Qin dynasty2.00.771.34%376[32]
Western Roman Empire2.00.771.34%395[32]
Northern Wei dynasty2.00.771.34%450[32]
Saffarid dynasty2.00.771.34%900[citation needed]
Almohad Caliphate2.00.771.34%1200[8]
Satavahana Empire2.00.771.34%90[32]
Inca Empire2.00.771.34%1527[8][18]
Second Mexican Empire2.00.771.34%1864
Gurjara Pratihara1.80.691.21%860[18]
Sibir Khanate1.80.691.21%1520[18]
Rashtrakuta dynasty1.70.661.41%805[citation needed]
Buyid Sultanate1.60.621.07%980[8][18]
Mamluk Sultanate1.60.621.07%1228[18]
Indo-Parthian Kingdom1.50.581.01%50[32]
Wu Dynasty1.50.581.01%221[32]
Northern Zhou Dynasty1.50.581.01%577[32]
Nanda Dynasty1.50.581.01%350 BC or 321[32][53]
Indo-Scythian Kingdom1.50.581.01%100 BC[35]
Tulunids Emirate1.50.581.01%900[32]
Idrisid dynasty, Morocco1.50.581.01%828[8]
Sur Empire1.50.581.01%1545[8][18]
Neo-Assyrian Empire1.40.540.940%670 BC[8][35]
Songhai Empire1.40.540.940%1500[54]
Empire of Harsha1.350.520.906%625 or 648[8][18]
Liang Dynasty1.30.500.873%502 or 549[8][32]
Western Wei Dynasty1.30.500.873%557[32]
Later Liang1.30.500.873%923[18]
Later Tang1.30.500.873%923[18]
Taungoo Dynasty1.30.500.873%1581[55]3.00.60% (3.0 million out of 500 million[13] in 16th Century)
Mali Empire1.290.500.866%1312[56]10.00% (45.0 million out of 450 million[57] in the mid-15th century)
Siam Empire1.290.500.866%1782[citation needed]
Shang Dynasty1.250.480.839%1122 BC[8][35]
Western Zhou Dynasty1.250.480.839%1122 BC[35]
Aksumite Empire1.250.480.839%350[8]
Khmer Empire1.20.460.806%1150[8][18]4.0 in 11501.333%
Carolingian Dynasty, Francia1.20.460.806%814[8][18]
Srivijaya Empire1.20.460.806%1200[8]
Sunga Empire1.20.460.806%150 BC[8]
Kingdom of Kush1.20.460.806%700 BC[8]
Chalukya Dynasty1.10.420.739%636[citation needed]
Swedish Empire1.10.420.739%1658[citation needed]
Lodhi Dynasty1.10.420.739%1517[citation needed]
Polish-Lithuanian Empire1.0[58]0.390.671%1619[59]ca. 12.0 (in 1619)2.07% to 02.41% (avg. 02.2%)[60]
Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt1.00.390.671%1450 BC[35]
New Kingdom1.00.390.671%1300 BC[8][35]
Ptolemaic Dynasty1.00.390.671%301 BC[35]
Eastern Wei Dynasty1.00.390.671%550[32]
Northern Qi Dynasty1.00.390.671%550[32]
Tahirid dynasty1.00.390.671%800[18]
Kalachuri Dynasty1.00.390.671%1050[8][18]
Holy Roman Empire1.00.390.671%1050[18]5.0 (in 1200)
Western Xia Dynasty1.00.390.671%1100[8]
Western Chalukya Empire1.00.390.671%1121[citation needed]
Avars Empire1.00.390.671%600[32]
Kanem Empire1.00.390.671%1200[18]
Bruneian Empire0.950.370.653%1524[8][35]
Maha-Meghavahana Dynasty0.90.350.604%10 BC[35]
Konbaung Dynasty, Burma0.90.350.604%1800[citation needed]
Volga Bulgars Khanate0.90.350.604%1100[8][18]
Grand Duchy of Lithuania0.850.320.570%14904.25
Akkadian Empire0.80.310.537%2250 BC[35]
Later Jin0.80.310.537%936[18]
Ghana Empire0.80.310.537%1067[32]
Pagan Kingdom0.80.310.537%1200[18]
Western Satraps Dynasty0.80.310.537%100[32]
Himyarite Kingdom0.80.310.537%400[35]
Balhae Kingdom0.80.310.537%830[8]
Khanate of Kazan0.70.270.470%1540[18]
Merovingian Dynasty, Francia0.70.270.470%558[18]
Bulgarian Empire0.70.270.470%900[citation needed]
Shu Dynasty0.70.270.470%221[32]
Yadava Gauli Kingdom0.70.270.470%1250[18]
Paramara Dynasty0.70.270.470%1050[32]
Kingdom of Dali0.70.270.470%1200[citation needed]
Vijayanagara Empire0.70.270.470%1529[citation needed]5.00% (25.0 million out of 500 million[13] in the 16th century)
Kingdom of Nanzhao0.70.270.470%830[18]
Austro-Hungarian Empire0.6766150.260.454%1867191852.8 in 19142.90% (51.3 million out of 1.753 billion in 1910)
Fifteenth dynasty of Egypt0.650.250.436%1650 BC[35]
26th Dynasty of Egypt0.650.250.436%550 BC[35]
Vakataka Kingdom0.650.250.436%450[35]
Visigothic Kingdom0.60.230.403%580[32]
Caliphate of Córdoba0.60.230.403%1000[18]
Rai Dynasty0.60.230.403%675[32]
Maukhari Kannauj Dynasty0.60.230.403%600[18]
Bahmani Sultanate0.60.230.403%1470[18]
Nizams Dynasty0.60.230.403%1740[citation needed]
Sikh Empire0.56090.220.377%1845[citation needed]
Middle Kingdom of Egypt0.50.190.336%1850 BC[35]
Lydian Empire0.50.190.336%585 BC[35]
Neo-Babylonian Empire0.50.190.336%562 BC[35]
Kosala Dynasty0.50.190.336%543 BC[32]
Shishunaga dynasty0.50.190.336%510 BC[32]
Chu Dynasty0.50.190.336%350 BC[32]
Pandyan Dynasty, Tamizhan kingdom0.50.190.336%1251[citation needed]
Later Han0.50.190.336%947[18]
Kangju Empire0.50.190.336%100 BC[32]
Ostrogothic Kingdom0.50.190.336%510[18]
Goguryeo Kingdom0.450.170.302%476[35]
Xia Dynasty0.450.170.302%1800 BC[35]
Polish Piast State0.40.150.269%1003[59][61]ca. 2 (in 1003)[58][62]0.58% to 0.79% (avg. 0.7%)[60]
Crimean Khanate0.40.150.269%1500[18]
Armenian Kingdom0.40.150.269%189 BC[32]
Old Kingdom of Egypt0.40.150.269%2400 BC[35]
Middle Kingdom of Assyria0.40.150.269%1080 BC[35]
Latin Empire0.350.140.235%1204[32]
Mitanni Empire0.30.120.201%1450 BC[35]
Carthaginian Empire0.30.120.201%220 BC[35]
1st Dynasty, Babylon0.250.100.168%1690 BC[35]
Serbian Empire0.250.100.168%1350[citation needed]
Aztec Empire0.220.080.148%1520[18]
Middle Elamite0.20.080.134%1160 BC[35]
2nd Dynasty, Isin0.20.080.134%1130 BC[35]
Urartu, or Kingdom of Ararat or Van0.20.080.134%800 BC[35]
Amorian Dynasty, Byzantium0.20.080.134%750 BC[35]
Old Kingdom, Assyria0.150.060.101%1730 BC[35]
Eastern Zhou Dynasty0.150.060.101%770 BC[35]


Ancient empires[edit]

Medieval empires[edit]

Modern empires[edit]

Largest empires by economy[edit]

GDP estimates in the following list are mostly given for empires in modern times, from the 18th to 20th centuries. All dollar amounts are in 1990 USD.

GDP size[edit]

  1. British Empire - $918.7 billion (in 1938)[3]
  2. Nazi German Empire - $375.6 billion (in 1938)[3]
  3. Japanese Empire - $260.7 billion (in 1938)[3]
  4. Russian Empire - $257.7 billion (in 1917)[13]
  5. Qing Empire - $241.3 billion (GDP decline to 1912, immediately before its downfall)[13]
  6. French Empire - $234.1 billion (in 1938)[3]
  7. Italian Empire - $143.4 billion (in 1938)[3]
  8. Indian Empire (British Raj) - $134.9 billion (in 1870)[13]
  9. Afsharid Persian Empire - $119.85 billion (in 1740)[13]
  10. Austro-Hungarian Empire - $100.5 billion (in 1918)[63]
  11. Mughal Empire - $90.8 billion (GDP decline in 1700)[13]
  12. Dutch Empire - $60 billion (in 1900)
  13. Ottoman Empire - $26.4 billion (in 1923)[64]
  14. Empire of Brazil - $13.6 billion (in 1889)[63]
  15. Portuguese Empire - $12.6 billion (in 1913)[63]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ CIA - The World Factbook
  2. ^ a b Ferguson, Niall (2004). Empire, The rise and demise of the British world order and the lessons for global power. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-02328-2. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Harrison (1998, pp. 3,7).
  4. ^ Smil, Vaclav (29 January 2010). Why America Is Not a New Rome. MIT Press. p. 62. ISBN 9780262288293. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  5. ^ Turner, Tracey (3 October 2013). What's the Difference Between Snot and Bogeys?. Scholastic UK. ISBN 9781407138121. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  6. ^ Finlay. Pilgrim Art. p.151.
  7. ^ Vandepeer, Matt. "Retrospect Empire". The Suttonian. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  8. ^ 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 Jonathan M. Adams, Thomas D. Hall and Peter Turchin (2006). "East-West Orientation of Historical Empires" (PDF). Journal of World-Systems Research (University of Connecticut). 12 (no. 2): 219–229. 
  9. ^ 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]).
  10. ^ Biraben, Jean-Noel; Biraben, Jean-Noel (January 1979). "Essai sur l'evolution du nombre des hommes". Population (French Edition) (Institut National d'&#201) 34 (1): 13–25. doi:10.2307/1531855. 
  11. ^ a b "The Largest Historical Empires". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Maddison, op cit. For alternate estimates, see the Economic History Services' USA/UK GDP search tool.
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b c d Gordon (2005)
  16. ^ The combined population of Spain, Portugal, Italy, Netherlands, United States and the Philippines was 29.2 in Maddison (2006[page needed]). The population of Latin America was 39 in Biraben (2003[page needed]), minus Brazil and its 4 people with was a part of the Portuguese empire.
  17. ^ Blankinship, Khalid Yahya (1994), The End of the Jihad State, the Reign of Hisham Ibn 'Abd-al Malik and the collapse of the Umayyads, State University of New York Press, p. 37, ISBN 0-7914-1827-8 
  18. ^ 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 bk 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. 
  19. ^ Recorded number of persons in 1851 is 432,164,047 according to Draft History of Qing.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g (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.
  21. ^ 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).
  22. ^ Rashidun Caliphate
  23. ^ IBGE Dados Históricos dos Censos
  24. ^ Larousse Encyclopedia
  25. ^ a b McEvedy and Jones (1978).
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ Yarshater (1996, p. 47)
  28. ^ Morris, Ian. 2009. The dynamics of ancient Empires: State Power from Assyria to Byzantium
  29. ^ 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).
  30. ^ 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).
  31. ^ Turchin, Peter; Adams, Jonathan M.; Hall, Thomas D (December 2006). "East-West Orientation of Historical Empires". Journal of world-systems researc h 12 (2): 219–229. ISSN 1076-156X. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  32. ^ 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 Rein Taagepera "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D.", Social Science History Vol. 3, 115-138 (1979).
  33. ^ Recorded number of persons and households in AD 2 are 58,594,978 and 12,233,062, respectively (Book of Han).
  34. ^ Turchin, Peter; Adams, Jonathan M.; Hall, Thomas D (December 2006). "East-West Orientation of Historical Empires". Journal of world-systems researc h 12 (2): 219–229. ISSN 1076-156X. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  35. ^ 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 Rein Taagepera "Size and Duration of Empires Growth-Decline Curves, 3000 to 600 B.C.", Social Science Research Vol. 7, 180-196 (1978).
  36. ^ Colin McEvedy and Richard Jones (1978), "Atlas of World Population History", Facts on File (p. 342-351). New York.
  37. ^ Chandra, Satish. Medieval India: From Sultanate To The Mughals. p. 202. 
  38. ^ Thomlinson (1975, Table 1).
  39. ^ a b Taagepera, Rein (1979). "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D". Social Science History (Duke University Press) 3 (3/4): 118. doi:10.2307/1170959. JSTOR 1170959. 
  40. ^ Mclynn Frank "Marcus Aurelius" p. 4. Published by The Bodley Head 2009
  41. ^ 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 ).
  42. ^ 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
  43. ^ 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 August 12, 2010. 
  44. ^ Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, J. Daniel Rogers, Steven P. Wilcox, & Jai Alterman, "Computing the Steppes: Data Analysis for Agent-Based Modeling of Polities in Inner Asia", Proceedings of the 104th Annual Meeting of the Amer. Pol. Sci. Assoc., Boston, Massachusetts, p. 8 August 28–31, (2008).
  45. ^ "History Chola Empire - History Of Ancient, Medieval And Modern India.". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  46. ^ "The Cholas"" University of Madras"K. A. Nilakanta Sastri
  47. ^ 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).
  48. ^ Recorded number of persons and households in 1195 are 48,490,400 and 7,223,400, respectively (History of Jin).
  49. ^ Recorded number of persons and households are 46,019,956 and 8,907,546, respectively, in 606 (Tongdian) or 609 (Book of Sui).
  50. ^ 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).
  51. ^ International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, ed. Immanuel Ness, Blackwell Publishing, 2009, p. 1029. Link.
  52. ^ Recorded number of persons and households in 156 are 56,486,856 and 10,677,960 respectively (Book of the Later Han).
  53. ^ Rein Taagepera "Size and Duration of Empires: Systematics of Size", Social Science Research Vol. 7, 108-127 (1978).
  54. ^ John O. Hunwick: Timbuktu and the Songahy Empire: Al-Sa’di's Ta’rikh Al-sudan Down to 1613 and other Contemporary Documents (Brill, 2003),p. xlix.
  55. ^ Victor B Lieberman (2003). Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in Global Context, c. 800–1830, volume 1, Integration on the Mainland. Cambridge University Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-521-80496-7. 
  56. ^ Hempstone, page 312
  57. ^ Walker, Sheila S., African roots/American cultures: Africa in the creation of the Americas, Published by Rowman & Littlefield, p. 127. (2001)
  58. ^ a b Collective work. "Atlas Historyczny Polski". PPWK, 1985
  59. ^ a b Maps of border changes"[2]"
  60. ^ a b Historical Estimates of World Population U.S. Census Bureau.
  61. ^ State of Boleslaw Chrobry"History of Poland during the Piast dynasty"
  62. ^ Population of Poland"pl:Ludnosc Polski"
  63. ^ a b c Broadberry and Harrison (2005).
  64. ^ Pamuk (2005[page needed]).


External links[edit]