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The Most Powerful and Influential Global Empires in History

Updated August 22, 2018 17.0k votes 1.9k voters 7.6k views

List RulesVote up the empires that had the biggest and longest-lasting effects on world history.

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.
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  • 1
    1,042
    345
    The bastion of the ancient world. All roads led there.
  • 2
    1,037
    384

    British Empire

    Highest population of any empire in history, over 550 million.
  • 3
    745
    310
    Largest contiguous land empire in history.
  • 4
    868
    414
    Ruled Southeast Europe and Western Asia for centuries.
  • 5
    415
    234
    Controlled 20% of the world's population at its height.
  • 6
    515
    329
    Dominated Europe for over three centuries.
  • 7
    326
    214
    Had over 29% of the entire world's population in the 7th century.
  • 8
    373
    292

    Golden Horde

    Mongol successor state that controlled much of Eastern Europe.
  • 9
    269
    203
    Second largest land empire before the 7th century CE.
  • 10
    301
    273

    Macedonian Empire

    The dominanate state of ancient Greece.
  • 11
    351
    353
    Controlled large parts of Europe from 1870 until the end of World War I
  • 12
    355
    373

    Holy Roman Empire

    Controlled most of central Europe for 900 years.
  • 13
    249
    305

    French Colonial Empire

    Second largest Empire in the 19th century.
  • 14
    228
    309
    The western part of the Roman Empire. Ruled for over 1,100 years.
  • 15
    169
    246

    Achaemenid Empire

    First centralized empire with postal and highway systems.
  • 16
    133
    235
    Tribal confederation founded by Attila the Hun.
  • 17
    132
    244
    Conquered most of Asia during World War II.
  • 18
    270
    504
    Had more land than any except the British and Mongolian.
  • 19
    111
    229

    New Kingdom of Egypt

    Ancient Egypt's most prosperous empire - three dynasties over five centuries.
  • 20
    94
    208
    Persian empire that ruled over India from the 1500s until 1857.
  • 21
    92
    213
    Vast maritime and colonial empire.
  • 22
    88
    209

    Qing Dynasty

    Ruled China from 1644 through 1912.
  • 23
    76
    216

    Austro-Hungarian Empire

    Unified states of Austria and Hungary. Disolved after World War 1.
  • 24
    65
    202

    Ming Dynasty

    Ruled China for over 300 years.
  • 25
    53
    198

    Aztec Empire

    United the city-states of Central Mexico for nearly 100 years.