The Most Powerful and Influential Global Empires in History

List Rules
Vote 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.
Ranked by
  • The bastion of the ancient world. All roads led there.
  • Largest contiguous land empire in history.
  • Ruled Southeast Europe and Western Asia for centuries.
  • British Empire
    4

    British Empire

    Highest population of any empire in history, over 550 million.
  • Dominated Europe for over three centuries.
  • Controlled 20% of the world's population at its height.
  • Golden Horde
    7

    Golden Horde

    Mongol successor state that controlled much of Eastern Europe.
  • Had over 29% of the entire world's population in the 7th century.
  • Macedonian Empire
    9

    Macedonian Empire

    The dominanate state of ancient Greece.
  • Second largest land empire before the 7th century CE.
  • The western part of the Roman Empire. Ruled for over 1,100 years.
  • First centralized empire with postal and highway systems.
  • Second largest Empire in the 19th century.
  • Controlled large parts of Europe from 1870 until the end of World War I
  • Controlled most of central Europe for 900 years.
  • Tribal confederation founded by Attila the Hun.
  • Persian empire that ruled over India from the 1500s until 1857.
  • Had more land than any except the British and Mongolian.
  • New Kingdom of Egypt
    19

    New Kingdom of Egypt

    Ancient Egypt's most prosperous empire - three dynasties over five centuries.
  • Ming Dynasty
    20

    Ming Dynasty

    Ruled China for over 300 years.
  • Qing Dynasty
    21
    Ruled China from 1644 through 1912.
  • Vast maritime and colonial empire.
  • Conquered most of Asia during World War II.
  • Likely the first empire in recorded history.
  • Austro-Hungarian Empire
    25

    Austro-Hungarian Empire

    Unified states of Austria and Hungary. Disolved after World War 1.