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Last Updated : Jan 04, 2020 07:16 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Biggest Empires in History: At its peak, one nation controlled 23% of world’s population

Here’s a look at 10 of the biggest empires in human history according to a list compiled by worldatlas.com.

Throughout different points in history, there have been great extensions of territory governed by great empires. An empire is generally defined as an extensive group of states or countries ruled by a single monarch, an oligarchy, or a sovereign state. Here’s a look at 10 of the biggest empire’s in human history according to a list compiled by worldatlas.com. (Image: Reuters)
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Throughout different points in history, there have been great swathes of territory governed by great empires. An empire is generally defined as an extensive group of states or countries ruled by a single monarch, an oligarchy, or a sovereign state. Here’s a look at 10 of the biggest empires in human history according to a list compiled by worldatlas.com. (Image: Reuters)

No. 10: Portuguese Empire | Peak size: 4.02 million sq. miles in 1815 | In the year 1815, the Portuguese Empire which extended across four million square miles covered regions known today as Brazil, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, as well as other regions in Africa.
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No. 10: Portuguese Empire | Peak size: 4.02 million sq. miles in 1815 | In the year 1815, the Portuguese Empire which extended across four million square miles covered regions known today as Brazil, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, as well as other regions in Africa.

No. 9: Yuan Dynasty | Peak size: 4.25 million sq. miles in 1310 | The Yuan Dynasty was established by emperor Kublai Khan who defeated the Song Dynasty which had reigned in China since 960. This was a period which brought economic, cultural, and scientific growth as Kublai and his successors promoted international trade which saw the now-unified country open up to the wider world.
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No. 9: Yuan Dynasty | Peak size: 4.25 million sq. miles in 1310 | The Yuan Dynasty was established by emperor Kublai Khan after defeating the Song Dynasty that had reigned in China since 960. This was a period which brought economic, cultural, and scientific growth as Kublai and his successors promoted international trade, which saw the now-unified country open up to the wider world.

No. 8: Umayyad Caliphate | Peak size: 4.29 million sq. miles in 720 | At its peak, the Umayyad Empire stretched from Syria, Damascus, Maghreb, Iberian Peninsula, Sindh, Punjab, Transoxiana, and the Caucasus. These territories had a combined population of 62 million people, which was roughly 29% of the world’s population at that time.
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No. 8: Umayyad Caliphate | Peak size: 4.29 million sq. miles in 720 | At its peak, the Umayyad Empire stretched from Syria, Damascus, Maghreb, Iberian Peninsula, Sindh, Punjab, Transoxiana, and the Caucasus. These territories had a combined population of 62 million people, which was roughly 29 percent of the world’s population at that time.

No. 7: Abbasid Caliphate | Peak size: 4.29 million sq. miles in 750 | The Abbasid overthrew the Umayyad caliphate in 750 and reigned until it was destroyed by the Mongol invasion in 1258. It covered parts of what would be recognized today as the Middle East, Central Asia, Southern Europe, and Northern Africa.
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No. 7: Abbasid Caliphate | Peak size: 4.29 million sq. miles in 750 | The Abbasid Caliphate overthrew the Umayyad Caliphate in 750 and reigned until it was destroyed by the Mongol invasion in 1258. It covered parts of what would be recognized today as the Middle East, Central Asia, Southern Europe, and Northern Africa.

No. 6: Second French Empire | Peak size: 4.44 million sq. miles in 1920 | France defeated Germany in the First World War with the help of Allied powers and then by means of agricultural and industrial production went on to develop extensively. However, when the Great Depression hit France around 1931, the empire which once extended across different regions in Europe, Africa, North America and Asia began to decolonize.
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No. 6: Second French Empire | Peak size: 4.44 million sq. miles in 1920 | France defeated Germany in the First World War with the help of Allied powers and then by means of agricultural and industrial production went on to develop extensively. However, when the Great Depression hit France around 1931, the empire, which once extended across different regions in Europe, Africa, North America and Asia began to decolonize.

No. 5: Spanish Empire | Peak size: 5.29 million sq. miles in 1810 | The Spanish Empire composed of colonies and territories distributed across the Americas, Asia, Africa, Oceania and some Pacific Ocean Archipelagos such as the Philippines. However, the Spanish empire was in constant fights over territories, trade or religion and as a result, suffered fluctuating military and economic fortunes.
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No. 5: Spanish Empire | Peak size: 5.29 million sq. miles in 1810 | The Spanish Empire composed of colonies and territories distributed across the Americas, Asia, Africa, Oceania and some Pacific Ocean archipelagos such as the Philippines. However, the Spanish empire was in constant battle over territories, trade or religion, and as a result, suffered fluctuating military and economic fortunes.

No. 4: Qing Dynasty | Peak size: 5.68 million sq. miles in 1790 | The Qing dynasty, was the last of the imperial dynasties of China, spanning the years 1644 to 1911/12. The dynasty reached its peak in the 18th century, when it administered over 5 million square miles.
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No. 4: Qing Dynasty | Peak size: 5.68 million sq. miles in 1790 | The Qing dynasty,was the last of the imperial dynasties of China and lasted from 1644 to 1911/12. The dynasty reached its peak in the 18th century, when it administered over 5 million square miles.

No. 3: Russian Empire | Peak size: 8.80 million sq. miles in 1895 | At its peak, the Russia Empire consisted of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Russian Poland, the central European Russian regions, the Baltic cities, regions along lower Dniepr and Don rivers and the Southern Ural Mountains, covering an area of 8.8 million square miles.
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No. 3: Russian Empire | Peak size: 8.80 million sq. miles in 1895 | At its peak, the Russian Empire consisted of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Russian Poland, the central European Russian regions, the Baltic cities, regions along lower Dniepr and Don rivers and the Southern Ural Mountains, covering an area of 8.8 million square miles.

No. 2: Mongol Empire | Peak size: 9.27 million sq. miles in 1270 | The Mongol Empire which started off as groups of nomadic tribes united by Genghis Khan in 1206, soon became largest contiguous empire in the history of humankind covering an area of 9.27 million square miles. It covered the steppes of Central Asia, then stretched to the Sea of Japan, Central Europe, then finally westwards to Levant and Arabia. It extended northwards to Siberia, and southwards and eastwards to Indochina, Iranian Plateau, and the Indian subcontinent.
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No. 2: Mongol Empire | Peak size: 9.27 million sq. miles in 1270 | The Mongol Empire, which started off as groups of nomadic tribes united by Genghis Khan in 1206, soon became largest contiguous empire in the history of humankind covering an area of 9.27 million square miles. It covered the steppes of Central Asia, then stretched to the Sea of Japan, Central Europe, then finally westwards to Levant and Arabia. It extended northwards to Siberia, and southwards and eastwards to Indochina, Iranian Plateau, and the Indian subcontinent.

No. 1: British Empire | Peak size: 13.71 million sq. miles in 1920 | “The empire on which the sun never sets” was a phrase commonly used to describe the British Empire. It was formed up of protectorates, colonies, dominions, mandates, and territories in every continent. The self-governing nations of the Union of South Africa, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and other colonies such as Kenya, Nigeria, India, Egypt, Sudan, Burma, and Singapore were all ruled from London. Such was their dominance that the British naval power controlled most of the key maritime trade routes and even enjoyed unchallenged sea power.
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No. 1: British Empire | Peak size: 13.71 million sq. miles in 1920 | “The empire on which the sun never sets” was a phrase commonly used to describe the British Empire. It was formed up of protectorates, colonies, dominions, mandates, and territories in every continent. The self-governing nations of the Union of South Africa, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and other colonies such as Kenya, Nigeria, India, Egypt, Sudan, Burma, and Singapore were all ruled from London. Such was their dominance that the British naval power controlled most of the key maritime trade routes and even enjoyed unchallenged sea power. In 1913, 412 million people lived in areas under the control of the British Empire, which was 23 percent of the world's population at the time.

First Published on Jan 4, 2020 07:15 pm
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