Category: Empires in World History

The concept of “greatest” can be subjective and depends on the criteria you’re using.

However, based on a combination of territorial size, influence, duration, and cultural impact, World History Edu presents our pick of greatest empires in history:

Roman Empire

At its height, it controlled most of the Mediterranean, stretching from the British Isles to Egypt. Its institutions, architecture, and language laid the foundations for Western Civilization.

Mongol Empire

Led by Genghis Khan and his descendants, the Mongols established the largest contiguous empire in history, covering vast portions of Asia and extending into Europe.

Ottoman Empire

Originating in the 13th century, it lasted until the early 20th century, controlling vast regions in Southeast Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa.

British Empire

At its zenith, it was the largest empire in history and was famously described as “the empire on which the sun never sets,” spanning from North America to Africa, Australia, and large parts of Asia.

Han and Tang Dynasties of China

Both were golden ages of Chinese culture, trade, power, and influence.

Persian Empire (Achaemenid Empire)

Established by Cyrus the Great, it became one of the largest empires in history, spanning three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Maurya and Gupta Empires

Golden ages in India’s history, marked by vast territorial control, as well as cultural and scientific advancements.

Byzantine Empire

The eastern continuation of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire lasted for another thousand years after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates

Islamic empires that saw a spread of the Arabic language, science, art, and culture across their territories.

Russian Empire

At its height, it was one of the largest empires in history, stretching from Eastern Europe across Asia to North America’s west coast.