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.
- 1,042345The bastion of the ancient world. All roads led there.
British EmpireHighest population of any empire in history, over 550 million.
- 745310Largest contiguous land empire in history.
- 868414Ruled Southeast Europe and Western Asia for centuries.
- 415234Controlled 20% of the world's population at its height.
- 515329Dominated Europe for over three centuries.
- 326214Had over 29% of the entire world's population in the 7th century.
Golden HordeMongol successor state that controlled much of Eastern Europe.
- 269203Second largest land empire before the 7th century CE.
Macedonian EmpireThe dominanate state of ancient Greece.
- 351353Controlled large parts of Europe from 1870 until the end of World War I
Holy Roman EmpireControlled most of central Europe for 900 years.
French Colonial EmpireSecond largest Empire in the 19th century.
- 228309The western part of the Roman Empire. Ruled for over 1,100 years.
Achaemenid EmpireFirst centralized empire with postal and highway systems.
- 133235Tribal confederation founded by Attila the Hun.
- 132244Conquered most of Asia during World War II.
- 270504Had more land than any except the British and Mongolian.
New Kingdom of EgyptAncient Egypt's most prosperous empire - three dynasties over five centuries.
- 94208Persian empire that ruled over India from the 1500s until 1857.
- 92213Vast maritime and colonial empire.
Qing DynastyRuled China from 1644 through 1912.
Austro-Hungarian EmpireUnified states of Austria and Hungary. Disolved after World War 1.
Ming DynastyRuled China for over 300 years.
Aztec EmpireUnited the city-states of Central Mexico for nearly 100 years.