What were the Greatest Empires of History?

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Alex Wright, Journalist

Throughout history, as civilizations rise and fall, some stand out from the crowd, and their accomplishments, whether they be in military might or technological advancements, make them the greatest empires of history. 

 

The Ottoman Empire was one of the largest in history. Named after the founder Osman the 1st, the Ottoman Empire lasted for 722 years and spanned most of southeastern Europe, northeast Africa, and northwest Asia. It peaked under Suleiman the Magnificent, containing 32 provinces and many vassal states. They also conquered the Byzantine empire and Constantinople(which they renamed Istanbul,) under Mehmed the II. The Ottoman Empire was known for its military might and swift warfare. Today the Ottomans are in Turkey, where the Byzantine empire used to be.

 

The Ancient Egyptian empire lasted for a staggering 2768 years! Located along the Nile River, which was so powerful you could have a foot in green soil and a foot in the barren desert, they were closed off from the outside world by a desert but had rich soil which never had a harmful flood. They were ruled by Pharaohs, which were similar to kings, and had massive pyramids built to bury them. Eventually, they were conquered by Alexander the Great, and later the Roman empire. Today they are a country in northern  Africa.

 

The Mongol Empire was the largest land empire in history. Lasting for all of central Asia and half of Europe, the Mongols truly had an impressive empire, especially considering where they started. The Mongols were originally scattered tribes of nomads, but a man named Genghis Khan united all the tribes and conquered most of the known world. Genghis was known for his ruthless tactics and choosing warriors by skill, not family. But it got too big too fast, and civil wars tore it apart.

 

The Roman Empire was a powerful force in the Mediterranean. Starting as a small city-state in what is now Italy, Rome quickly conquered their neighbors and became the dominant force in Italy. They went through 3 systems of government, going from a kingdom to a republic to an empire. The soldiers were well trained, organized, and disciplined. The empire was so important that when they eventually fell due to sheer size(which you’ll see is a trend with these empires) the medieval era in Europe ushered in. 

 

The British Empire was the largest in history. You’ll hear the term “The Sun never sets on the British Empire,” and it’s a very true statement. It’s saying that because Britain had colonies all over the world, there was always a place in the empire where the sun was up. Britain was so large not because of its mainland, but its many colonies. Britain was also known for its invention of steam power and productivity, earning it the title “the workshop of the world.” The irony is, today England is one of the smallest countries in the world, just existing on a tiny island.

 

The Persian Empire was the first large major empire. Spanning 1,400 years and spanning the Balkan peninsula to the Indus river valley. And one of the best things about the Persian Empire was how they ruled. First and probably the most important, slavery was almost non-existent in Persia. That’s right, the earliest empire in history was the only one on this list without slaves. They also let the conquered lands keep their kings, so the Persian king was known as the King of kings, their religions, and they improved infrastructure, most notably with roads. But later the Macedonian  Alexander conquered the entire empire, ending the first Persian empire.

 

As civilizations ebb and flow, some make lasting changes to our history. Whether it be the British with the most standardized language, the Romans with their idea of a republic, or the Persians with the idea of having a massive empire, it’s not hard to see how they shaped our history and even our everyday lives.

 

Bibliography:

 

Articles:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottoman_Empire

https://www.britannica.com/event/Fall-of-Constantinople-1453

https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/ancient-egypt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongol_Empire

https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-middle-east/persian-empire

 

Videos:

Venice and the Ottoman Empire

The Persians and the Greeks