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history The Best Global Empires  

Mike Rothschild
6.5k votes 544 voters 2.9k views

The most powerful empires in history united warring factions, controlled great swaths of land, and had vast colonial resources at their control. From the first global empire, likely the Akkadian Empire founded by Sargon in 2300 BCE, to the great dynasties of antiquity, all the way through the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires of the 1900s, these empires ruled huge parts of the world - until they were defeated by empires even more powerful than their own.

A great empire has a huge population, controls huge amounts of land, and can control both with a strong military. On this list you'll find the empires that brought the world some of the toughest warriors, greatest military leaders, and strongest armies. But they also inspired the greatest art, literature, engineering, and scientific feats in human history. Many nations were part of many different empires, and each one added their own legacy to their history.

Here are the greatest, most powerful global empires. Vote up the ones that truly stood above the rest.

1
244 103
Ottoman Empire is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Global Empires
Ottoman Empire Ruled Southeast Europe and Western Asia for centuries.

2
212 111
Roman Empire is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Global Empires
Roman Empire The bastion of the ancient world. All roads led there.

3
211 124
British Empire is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Global Empires
British Empire Highest population of any empire in history, over 550 million.

4
177 97
Mongol Empire is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Global Empires
Mongol Empire Largest contiguous land empire in history.

5
137 129
Spanish Empire is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Global Empires
Spanish Empire Dominated Europe for over three centuries.

6
110 103
French colonial empire is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Global Empires
French Colonial Empire Second largest Empire in the 19th century.

7
111 110
Golden Horde is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Global Empires
Golden Horde Mongol successor state that controlled much of Eastern Europe.

8
112 133
German Empire is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Global Empires
German Empire Controlled large parts of Europe from 1870 until the end of World War I

9
112 141
Byzantine Empire is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Global Empires
Byzantine Empire The western part of the Roman Empire. Ruled for over 1,100 years.

10
114 150
Russian Empire is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Global Empires
Russian Empire Had more land than any except the British and Mongolian.

11
107 149
Holy Roman Empire is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Global Empires
Holy Roman Empire Controlled most of central Europe for 900 years.

12
71 106
Abbasid Caliphate is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Global Empires
Abbasid Caliphate Controlled 20% of the world's population at its height.

13
71 117
Achaemenid Empire is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Global Empires
Achaemenid Empire First centralized empire with postal and highway systems.

14
64 117
Hunnic Empire is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Global Empires
Hunnic Empire Tribal confederation founded by Attila the Hun.

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15
72 140
Macedonian Empire is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Global Empires
Macedonian Empire The dominanate state of ancient Greece.

16
56 132
Empire of Japan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Global Empires
Empire of Japan Conquered most of Asia during World War II.

17
51 132
New Kingdom of Egypt is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Global Empires
New Kingdom of Egypt Ancient Egypt's most prosperous empire - three dynasties over five centuries.

18
48 132
Tang dynasty is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Global Empires
Qing Dynasty Ruled China from 1644 through 1912.

19
44 132
Umayyad Caliphate is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Global Empires
Umayyad Caliphate Had over 29% of the entire world's population in the 7th century.

20
41 124
Rashidun Caliphate is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Global Empires
Rashidun Caliphate Second largest land empire before the 7th century CE.

21
37 149
Portuguese Empire is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Global Empires
Portuguese Empire Vast maritime and colonial empire.

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22
35 144
Austro-Hungarian Empire is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Global Empires
Austro-Hungarian Empire Unified states of Austria and Hungary. Disolved after World War 1.

23
34 143
Ming Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Global Empires
Ming Dynasty Ruled China for over 300 years.

24
30 149
Yuan Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Global Empires
Yuan Dynasty Established by Kublai Khan and unified China in 1271.

25
23 135
Mughal Empire is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Global Empires
Mughal Empire Persian empire that ruled over India from the 1500s until 1857.

26
21 140
Aztec Empire is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Global Empires
Aztec Empire United the city-states of Central Mexico for nearly 100 years.

27
19 131
Akkadian Empire is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Global Empires
Akkadian Empire Likely the first empire in recorded history.

28
14 131
Kushan Empire is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Global Empires
Kushan Empire Had almost 20% of the world's population under it in the 2nd century.

29
14 137
Gupta Empire is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Global Empires
Gupta Empire Ancient empire that marked the Golden Age of India.

30
8 135
First Mexican Empire is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Global Empires
First Mexican Empire Lasted only three years, but was the only post-Spanish colonial monarchy.

31
7 134
Fatimid Caliphate is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Global Empires
Fatimid Caliphate Ruled the Levant for over 250 years.

32
6 132
Pala Empire is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Global Empires
Pala Empire Controlled India and Pakistan from the 8th to 12th century.