5 Biggest Empires Ever. This is a bloody great bloody list of who had the biggest bloody Empires ever.


5) Umayyad Caliphate –  Nearly 5.8 million square miles

 

At its greatest extent

At its greatest extent

 

Umayyad was the second great Islamic empire that followed the death of Muhammad. The Caliphate lasted during the years 661 and 750. Most of the known world was part of the empire, which was unheard of before it’s creation, making it the biggest empire ever to have been seen at the time. It’s name come from the Umayyad Family, who were the head family of the caliphate for many years.

After many years of rebellions and Muslim civil wars, the caliphate collapsed in the year 750 after a war with another Islamic empire.

FACT BOOK:

  • Many Christians and Jews held prominent positions in the empire
  • It had a population of 34 million
  • Their traditional enemy was the Byzantine Empire

4) Spanish Empire – Around 7.5 million square miles 

 

The Founding of a settlement in Chile

The Founding of a settlement in Chile

 

The Spanish Empire was the first global colonial empire. At it’s peak, all of mainland south America and most of the USA was under Spanish control.

It all started with the discovery of Cuba. The pope ruled that all of the land west Cuba could be claimed by the Spanish and them only. The pope wasn’t expecting much land to be found…until North and South America was discovered. The gold found in the new world led to Spain becoming the richest and most powerful country on Earth.

The Philippians and parts of North-Africa were also part of the empire; along with a ton of small islands. The Spanish lost most of the empire in the South-American wars of independence. But Cuba and the Philippians were lost during the Spanish-American war. Which was when the United States defeated the Spanish in the Caribbean.

FACT BOOK:

  • Forced conversion to Catholicism was common in the empire
  • Billions worth of gold still lies at the bottom of the sea in old Spanish imperial ships
  • The last of it’s African colonies became independent in 1975

3) Russian Empire – Around 8.8 million square miles

 

Russian troops storming an Uzbek city

Russian troops storming an Uzbek city

 

The Russian Empire stretched from Poland to Alaska. It lasted from the 1720s up until it fell apart during the Russian revolution in 1917. With a population of 180 million, it had the third largest population of any state. The other two being the Qing Dynasty and the British Empire.

Alaska was sold to America in 1867 for 7.2 million US dollars.

The actual note used to pay for alaska

The actual note used to pay for alaska

Realistically, it was Russian involvement in WW2 that led to it’s collapse. Russian communists then seized power and founded the Soviet Union, which was basically an empire. Not as big though. Mongolia, Finland, and parts of Japan and China were all part of the empire. Also, Afghanistan is the only central-asian state that wasn’t.

FACT BOOK:

  • The Empire surrendered to Germany in WW1
  • Napoleon unsuccessfully invaded Russia during the winted. He almost lost his whole army
  • The ruler of the Empire was called a Tsar

2) Mongol Empire – Around 12.7 million square miles

 

Mongol hordes attack Moscow

Mongol hordes attack Moscow

 

The Mongolian empire was legendary for it’s invading armies. All over the world people were frightened of the notorious Mongol hordes. The empire started when Genghis Khan united various mongol tribes. They then set out invading literally everyone they knew. The empire lasted from 1206 up until 1363. The empire was split into several smaller empires in the late 13th century, which paved the way for it’s collapse.

 

FACT BOOK:

  • There was no word for ‘soldier’ in mongol language – every man was part of their military.
  • Regular soldiers paid money to their leaders. The opposite to how other armies work!
  • The black death is suspected to have been spread to Europe through mongol infrastructure

1) The British Empire – Around 13 million square miles

 

 

The empire in 1886

The empire in 1886

 

Ah, the British Empire. The largest and most strange empire in the history of the Earth. It is disputed when the Empire was originally established but it was certainly during the last eight million years. The empire grew incredibly quickly. In fact, by 1922, it’s population was 458 million. Which meant 1/5 of the Earth’s population was under British rule. The empire was built on trade, that’s why India and Singapore were it’s crown jewels.

After WW2, India successfully gained freedom. This was a turning point for the Empire; in the following few decades most other overseas territories were given up by the British. In 1997 Hong Kong was returned to China. This was basically when the British Empire ended. Although, today 14 overseas territories are still under British control as well as Gibraltar.

FACT BOOK:

  •  slavery was outlawed throughout the empire in 1833
  • It peaked in 1922 when it was one quarter of the Earth
  • The British still claim a huge chunk of Antarctica
  • In 1812 the British Burned down the white house after America’s failed invasion of Canada

Picture credits:


Umayyad caliphate image: copyright Gabagool via creative commons 3.0

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