History is full of great empires. Some of these empires dominated the world for hundreds and hundreds of years. However, even the most dominant and massive empires fall at one time or another. But in their heyday, these empires grew at a rate that no one could have expected and increased their influence on the entire world. There have been dozens of impressive empires throughout history, but the 12 you are about to read about were among the greatest. These 12 empires dominated during their time and grew to a massive size. That said, the empire at the 8th spot is one you won’t be expecting.
#12 The Portugese Empire
What better way to start the article than with what many believe was the first truly global empire in history? The empire was very advanced for its time, which is why they were able to dominate. This empire lasted for nearly 600 years in total and began in 1415 with the capture of Ceuta and managed to last all the way to 1999, when it gave up Macau, its last territory.
#11 Achaemenid Empire
This was a name for the First Persian Empire. Cyrus the Great first founded this empire in the 6th century which was named after King Archamenes. The area for this empire spanned from Europe all the way into Western Asia. At the time, nearly half the population of Earth belonged to this empire.
#10 The British Empire
In terms of land mass, this was the largest empire by quite a bit. In total, this empire spanned over 20 million miles. Basically, every single continent (including all of Austrailia) had the British Empire present in some form and this made it among the most powerful empires of all time. The next entry might just be the most famous empire of all time.
#9 The Roman Empire
This was arguably the most famous and influential empire in history. The Roman Empire lasted for well over 1000 years and led to more innovation than perhaps any other empire in the years after it was founded by Augustus (he was also its first Emperor). Without the Romans, who knows what our language, law, and religions would look like? Check out the 6th entry for another extremely famous empire.
#8 Sassanid Empire
This was an important era as it was the last Iranian empire before the rise of Islam. During its peak, this empire consisted of nearly all of the Middle East and was among the biggest powers in the world. This empire lasted from 224-651 and was very important in the development of various different cultures of the time.
#7 The Japanese Empire
While this empire may not have lasted as long as some of the others on this list, it was still extremely powerful. The empire lasted from 1868 to 1947, when U.S.-dropped atomic bombs lead to the surrender of the empire. The Japanese Empire was also amongst the largest maritime empires in history.
#6 The Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire will perhaps go down as one of the most violent and dominant empires of all time. The empire is without a doubt best known for its leader, Genghis Khan. This empire existed during the 13th and 14 centuries, and under Khan, ruled much of Central Asia and China. The next empire was also known best because of its leader.
#5 The Nazi Empire
This was a very short reign but was without a doubt one of the deadliest in history. Nazi Germany refers to a period in the country’s history when it was ruled by Adolf Hitler (from 1933 to 1945). Hitler and his party had total control over German life and of course went on to incite the biggest and deadliest war of all time, World War II.
#4 The Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire began with Christopher Columbus and his voyages West. Quickly, the empire founded colonies and territories all over the world. During their prime, this empire was extremely wealthy and thus, held a lot of power. They were also masters at navigation, which is how they were able to spread so far so quickly.
#3 The Russian Empire
This empire lasted from 1721 until 1917 and was among the biggest in history. In fact, in terms of land mass, it was third to only the British and the Mongol empire. At the end of this empire, it was estimated there were about 181 million people who called it home before it collapsed.
#2 Qing Dynasty
The modern state that China is in has the Qing Dynasty to thank for most of it. The Qing Dynasty lasted from 1644 until 1912, and was the final imperial dynasty in China, before it became the Republic of China. This longstanding and powerful dynasty fell due to battle defeats at the hand of the West.
#1 French Colonial Empire
From the 16th century onward, the French Empire spread throughout the world. It was at its biggest throughout the 19th and 20th centuries when it was only rivaled by the British Empire. Their conquest spread throughout the world, and their impact in Africa can still be felt as numerous countries have French as their most common language.
While you definitely knew about a few of these empires, there are likely a ton that you had no idea about. Empires have existed throughout history as people in power always want their ideologies to spread. Some would spread their empires via teaching others their ways, their culture and more, while others would simply use brute force and violence to expand the reach of their empires. However, no matter what way the empire rose to power, the only guarantee is that they will fall. Whether it only took a few years, or over 1000, each empire on this list eventually fell, and we are left with nothing but the history they left behind.