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An imperial political structure is established and maintained two ways: (i) as a territorial empire of direct conquest and control with force (direct, physical action to compel the emperor’s goals), and (ii) as a coercive, hegemonic empire of indirect conquest and control with power (the perception that the emperor can physically enforce his desired goals). The former provides greater tribute and direct political control, yet limits further expansion, because it absorbs military forces to fixed garrisons. The latter provides less tribute and indirect control, but avails military forces for further expansion. [2] Territorial empires (e.g. the Mongol Empire, the Median Empire) tended to be contiguous areas; while maritime empires or thalassocracies, (e.g. the Athenian , the British Empire) are intercontinental, far-flung overseas empires.

The maximum territorial extent of Egypt (XVth century BC) Empire from the Latin imperium. Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples (ethnic groups) united and ruled either by a monarch (emperor, empress) or an oligarchy. Geopolitically, the term empire has denoted very different, territorially-extreme states — at the strong end, the extensive Spanish Empire (16th c.) and the British Empire (19th c.), at the weak end, the Holy Roman Empire (8th c.–19th c.), in its Medieval and early-modern forms, and the anæmic Byzantine Empire (15th c.), that was a direct continuation of the Roman Empire, that, in its final century of existence, was more a city-state than a territorial empire. Etymologically, the political usage of “empire” denotes a strong, centrally-controlled nation-state, but, in the looser, quotidian, vernacular usage, it denotes a large-scale business enterprise (i.e. a transnational corporation) and a political organisation of either national-, regional-, or city scale, controlled either by a person (a political boss) or a group authority (political bosses). [1]

Empire defined
An empire is a State with politico-military dominion of populations who are culturally and ethnically distinct from the imperial (ruling) ethnic group and its culture [4] — unlike a federation, an extensive State voluntarily composed of autonomous states and peoples. As a State, an empire might be either territorial or an hegemony, wherein the empire’s sphere of influence dominates the lesser state(s) via divide and conquer tactics, i.e. “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, (cf. superpower, hyperpower). What physically and politically constitutes an empire is variously defined; it might be a State effecting imperial policies, or a political structure, or a State whose ruler assumes the title of “Emperor”, thus re-denominating the State (country) as an “Empire”, despite having no additional territory or hegemony, e.g. the Central African Empire. The terrestrial empire’s maritime analogue is the thalassocracy, an empire comprehending islands and coasts to its terrestrial homeland, e.g. the Athenian-dominated Delian League. Unlike an homogeneous nation-state, an heterogeneous (multi-ethnic) colonial empire usually has no common tongue, thus, a lingua


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franca is most important to governing (administratively, culturally, militarily) to establish imperial unity. To wit, the Macedonians imposed Greek as their unifying, imperial language, yet most of their subject populations continued speaking Aramaic, the lingua franca of the previous, Persian Empire, overlord. The Romans successfully imposed Latin upon Western continental Europe, but less successfully in Britain and in Western Asia; in the Middle East, the Arab Empire established politico-cultural unity via language and religion; the Spanish Empire established Spanish in most all of the American continent, but less so in Paraguay and in the Philippines; the British Empire established itself with English in northern North America; elsewhere, despite Russian not supplanting the indigenous tongues of the Caucasus and Central Asia, the Russians learned the tongues of their imperial subjects.

empire, comparable to Rome, was the Assyrian empire (2000–612 BC), and the first, successful, multi-cultural empire was the Persian Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BC), then the most extensive, comprehending Egypt, Greece, Western Asia (the Middle East), Central Asia, and India.

Classical Antiquity
The Roman Empire was the most extensive Western empire until the early modern period.

The Roman Empire under Trajan in AD 117. Prior to the Roman Empire the kingdom of Macedonia, under Alexander the Great, became an empire that spanned from Greece to India. After Alexander’s death, his empire fractured into four, discrete kingdoms ruled by the Diadochi, which, despite being independent, are denoted as the "Hellenistic Empire", given the Greek influence. In the East, the term Persian Empire denotes the imperial states established at different historical periods of pre–Islamic and post–Islamic Persia. And in the Far East, various Celestial Empires arose periodically in China between periods of civil war and foreign conquests. The Han Empire was one of the worlds largest Empires in Antiquity, and one of Chinas most long lived dynasties.

Ethnic groups of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1910, (cf. nation-state).

History of Imperialism
Early empires
The imperial concept predates the Roman Empire by millennia; the Akkadian Empire of Sargon of Akkad (24th century BC), was the earliest model of a geographically extensive terrestrial empire. In the 15th century BC, the loosely-organised New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, ruled by Thutmose III, was the ancient Near East’s major force upon incorporating Nubia and the ancient city-states of the Levant. Despite their imperial condition, these early empires had no effective administrative control of their subject territories. The ancient world’s earliest, centrally-organised

Middle Ages
For centuries, in the West, “empire” was exclusively applied to States that considered themselves the heirs and successors of the Roman Empire, e.g. the Byzantine Empire, the German Holy Roman Empire, the Russian Empire, yet, said states were not always technically — geographic, political, military — empires. To legitimise their imperium,


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The Mongol Empire was the largest contiguous empire

Map showing the extent of the Almoravid empire, c. AD 1100.

The expansion of the Arab Empire under the Umayyads these states directly claimed the title of Empire from Rome. The sacrum Romanum imperium (800–1806), claimed to have exclusively comprehended Christian German principalities, was only nominally a discrete imperial state. The Holy Roman Empire was not always centrally-governed, as it had neither core nor peripheral territories, was not multiethnic, and was not governed by a central, politico-military élite — hence, Voltaire’s remark that the Holy Roman Empire “was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire” is accurate to the degree that it ignores [5] German rule over Italian, French, Provençal, Polish, Flemish, Dutch, and Bohemian populations, and the efforts of the eighth-century Holy Roman Emperors (i.e. the Ottonians) to

Conquests of the Ottoman Empire establish central control; thus, Voltaire’s “. . . nor an empire” observation applies to its late period. In 1204, after the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople, the crusaders established a Latin Empire (1204–1261) in that city, while the defeated Byzantine Empire’s descendants established two, smaller, short-lived empires in Asia Minor: the Empire of Nicaea (1204–1261) and the Empire of Trebizond (1204–1461). In the event, the Muslim Ottoman Empire (ca.1300–1918), conquered most of that region by 1453. Moreover, Eastern Orthodox imperialism was not re-established until the coronation, in 1682, of Peter the Great as Emperor of Russia. Like-wise, with the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, in 1806, during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), the Austrian Empire


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(1804-1867), emerged reconstituted as the Empire of Austria–Hungary (1867–1918), having “inherited” the imperium of Central and Western Europe from the losers of said wars. The Mongol Empire, under Genghis Khan in the thirteenth century, was forged as the largest contiguous empire in the world. Genghis Khan’s grandson, Kublai Khan, was proclaimed emperor, and established his imperial capital at Beijing; however, in his reign, the empire became fractured into four, discrete khanates.

politically, militarily, and economically ineffective in the imperial long-term. For the British Empire, this occurred with the populaces of the colony of “India” — the Indian sub-continent — who, on partition and independence, in 1947, divided themselves by culture and religion, not geography, and established the modern countries of India and Pakistan (the geographically-distant states of West Pakistan and East Pakistan), which later, respectively, became Pakistan (The Islamic Republic of Pakistan), in 1947, and Bangladesh (The People’s Republic of Bangladesh), in 1971. [6][7][8] Moreover, in Africa, said arbitrary imperial borders remain, and define the contemporary countries, because the African Union’s explicit policy is their preservation in avoiding political instability and concomitant war.

Colonial empires

Modern period

The discovery of the New World (the Americas and Australasia) in the 15th century, proved opportune for European countries to launch colonial imperialism like that of the Romans and the Carthaginians. In the Old World, colonial imperialism was attempted, effected, and established upon the Canary Islands and Ireland, wherein, the conquered lands and peoples became de jure subordinates of the empire, rather than de facto imperial territory and subjects. In the event, such subjugation elicited “client-state” resentment that the empire unwisely ignored, leading to the collapse of the European colonial imperial system in the late-nineteenth century and the early- and mid-twentieth century. An inherent problem of European colonial imperialism was the matter of the arbitrary territorial boundaries of the colonies. For administrative expediency, discrete colonies were established solely by convenient geography — while ignoring the sometimes extreme cultural differences among the conquered populace(s); effective in the shortterm control of the subject peoples, but

The Spanish–Portuguese Empire in the Iberian Union (1580–1640) period; Spanish Empire (red), Portuguese Empire (blue). In time, most monarchies, usually kingdoms, styled themselves as having greater size, scope, and power than the territorial, politico-military, and economic facts allowed; despite that, they assumed the title of “Emperor” (or its corresponding translation: Tsar, Emperador, Kaiser, et cetera) and renamed their states as “The Empire of . . . ”. For example, in 1056, King Ferdinand I of León, proclaimed himself “Emperor of Hispania”, and began the Reconquista (718–1492) of the Iberian peninsula from the Muslims; another, mediæval example is Bulgaria. In the 19th century, the French emperors Napoleon I and Napoleon III (See: Second Mexican Empire [1864–1867]) each attempted establishing a Western imperial hegemony based in France; and the German Empire (1871–1918), another “heir to the Holy Roman Empire” arose in 1871. In consequence, the Europeans began applying the


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conceptual political structure of “empire” to non-European monarchies, such as the Manchu Dynasty and the Mughal Empire, and then to past polities, leading, eventually, to the looser denotations applicable to any political structure (monarchic or not) meeting the criteria of imperium; thus, the empire synonyms: tsardom, realm, reich, and raj. Empires accrete to different types of states, although, they traditionally originated as powerful monarchies ruled by an hereditary (sometimes self-appointed) emperor, nevertheless, the Athenian Empire, the Roman Empire, and the British Empire developed under elective auspices, while the Brazilian Empire declared itself an empire born of a Portuguese colony in 1822, and France has twice transited from being the French Republic to being the French Empire; whilst nominally a republic, France remained an overseas empire; to date, it governs a territorial, colonial empire (French Guyana, Martinique, Réunion, French Polynesia, New Caledonia) and an hegemony in Francophone Africa (Chad, Rwanda, et cetera).

the nominally independent German states joining what initially was a revamped customs union; thus, via Prussian hegemony, the German states mostly retained the trappings of sovereignty, and the hegemon empire avoided a protracted war of conquest and consolidation. In sub-continental Asia, the Sikh Empire (1799–1846) was established in the Punjab, by the Maharaja Ranjit Singh, after the Sikhs defeated the Afghan Empire; it comprised the territory from Kabul to Delhi. The Sikh Empire collapsed at Ranjit Singh’s death, when — despite the Sikhs having opportunity of capturing the local colony of the British Empire — Tej Singh and Lal singh betrayed their army to the British in 1846. Politically, it was typical for either a monarchy, or an oligarchy, rooted in the original, core territory of the empire, to continue dominating said union of states. Usually, such government was maintained via control of a natural resource vital to the colonial subjects, usually, water; such régimes were denominated “hydraulic empires”. Moreover, pace Edward Gibbon, the empire’s introduction of a common religion amenable to every subject populace, also strengthened the imperial political structure, as occurred with the adoption of Christianity under Constantine I. In time, an empire metamorphoses to another form of polity; thus, the Bernese Empire of conquest ceased existing when its conquered territories were (culturally) incorporated, either to the Canton of Bern or to other cantons of the Swiss Confederation. To wit, the Holy Roman Empire, a German reconstitution of the Roman Empire, metamorphosed into various political structures (i.e. Federalism), and, eventually, under Habsburg rule, re-constituted itself as the Austrian Empire — an empire of much different politics and vaster extension. After the Second World War (1939–1945) the British Empire, evolved into a loose, multi-national Commonwealth of Nations; while the French Colonial empire metamorphosed to a Francophone commonwealth; and the Soviet Empire became the Commonwealth of Independent States. An autocratic empire can progress to being a republic, usually with a coup d’etat (e.g. Brazil in 1889; the Central African Empire in 1979); or it can become a republic with its imperial dominions reduced to a core

In 1920, the British Empire was the largest empire in history. Historically, empires resulted from military conquest, with the conqueror incorporating the vanquished states to its political union; yet, a strong state could establish imperial hegemony with minimal militarism. The victim-state’s inability to militarily resist, and its knowledge of that inability, usually suffices to convince it to negotiate for annexation, rather than conquest, to the empire. For example, the bequest of Pergamon, by Attalus III, to the Roman Empire, in antiquity, and, the Unification of Germany as the empire accreted to the Prussian metropole, whose military action was less a military conquest of the German states, than their political divorce from the Austrian Empire. Having convinced them of its military prowess — and having excluded the Austrians — Prussia dictated the terms of imperial membership to


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territory (e.g. Weimar Germany, 1918–1919 and the Ottoman Empire, 1918–1923). The dissolution of the Austro–Hungarian Empire, in 1918, is an example of a multi-ethnic superstate devolving to its constituent states: the republics, kingdoms, and provinces of Austria, Hungary, Transylvania, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czechoslovakia, Ruthenia, Galicia, et al.

Exceptionalism) impairs popular recognition of US imperial conduct, because it governs via surrogates — domestically-weak, right-wing governments that collapse without US support.[10] To wit, G.W. Bush Administration Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld having said: “We don’t seek empires. We’re not imperialistic; we never have been” — directly contradicts Thomas Jefferson, in the 1780s, awaiting the fall of the Spanish empire: “. . . till our population can be sufficiently advanced to gain it from them peice by peice [sic]”. [11][12] In turn, historian Sidney Lens confirms Jefferson, noting that, from its British imperial independence, the US has used every means to dominate other nations. [13] • — China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Russia, Spain — whose body politic comprises violent and peaceful political separatist groups, whether or not State action controlling their activities is legitimate law-enforcement or imperial repression remains debated. Unlike an empire, modern multi-ethnic states are federations (e.g. Belgium) and commonwealth unions (e.g. the UK) whose democratic political systems share governing power at the federal, provincial, and state jurisdictions. • redux; in the post–Cold War era, since the European Union began, in 1993, as a west European trade bloc, it established its own currency, the Euro, in 1999, established discrete military forces, and exercised its hegemony in eastern Europe and in Asia, behaviour which the political scientist, Jan Zielonka, posits as imperial, because it coerces its neighbour countries to adopt its European economic, legal, and political structures. [14] [15][16][17][18][19][20] • as the Order of the World in the twentyfirst century; in his book review of Empire (2000), by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Mehmet Akif Okur posits that, since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, the international relations determining the world’s balance of power (political, economic, military) have been altered by the intellectual (political science) trends that perceive the contemporary world’s order via the reterritorrialisation of political space, the reemergence of classical imperialist

Empire from 1945 to the present
• ; Contemporaneously, the concept of Empire is politically valid, yet, is losing semantic cohesion; for example, Japan, the world’s sole empire, is a constitutional monarchy, with an heterogeneous population that is 97 per cent ethnic Japanese and a land mass smaller than that of other modern nations. [9] Moreover, given the disfavour against absolute monarchy and the absence of any government with explicitly imperial policies, the term empire might become a linguistic anachronism; nonetheless, as political science, the military command of Imperium evolved to the political structure of Empire, which evolved into hegemonic Imperialism — its theoretical denotations and connotations of global capitalism as imperialism derive from Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916), Vladimir Lenin’s incisive, analytic study of cultural and economic hegemony. • ; the USSR (1922–1991) met the imperium criteria, was governed by a ruling group, not an hereditary emperor (cf. Soviet Empire), yet never identified itself as such; nevertheless, its anti-Communist, ideologic opponents, most notably the US President Ronald Reagan and the UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, named it The Evil Empire, tacitly contrasting it with The Good Empire of the democratic West. Academically, the USSR was denominated imperial, given its likeness to empires past and its ideologic appeal to the poor peoples of Eurasia.. • ; identifying the USA’s American Empire, by its international behavior, is controversial in that country. To wit, Stuart Creighton Miller posits that the public’s self-styled “sense of innocence” about Realpolitik (cf. American


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practices (the “inside” vs. “outside” duality, cf. the Other), the deliberate weakening of international organisations, the restructured international economy, economic nationalism, the expanded arming of most countries, the proliferation of nuclear-weapon capabilities, and the politics of identity emphasizing a State’s subjective perception of its place in the world, as a nation and as a civilisation. These changes constitute the “Age of Nation Empires”; as imperial usage, nation-empire denotes the return of geopolitical power from global power blocs to regional power blocs (i.e. centred upon a “regional power” State [China, Russia, US, et al.]), and regional multistate power alliances (i.e. Europe, Latin America, South East Asia), thus nationempire regionalism claims sovereignty over their respective (regional) political (social, economic, ideologic), cultural, and military spheres. [21]


[1] Oxford Dictionary|http://www.askoxford.com/ concise_oed/empire?view=uk Retrieved 11/21/2008 [2] Ross Hassig, Mexico and the Spanish Conquest (1994), pp. 23–24, ISBN 0-582-06829-0 (pbk) [3] Per Herodotus, the Persian fleet of King Xerxes, in the Greco–Persian war had 1,207 triremes and 3,000 fifty-oar ships. [4] The Oxford English Reference Dictionary, Second Edition (2001), p.461, ISBN 0-19-860046-1 [5] Voltaire, Wikiquote, citing Essai sur l’histoire generale et sur les moeurs et l’espirit des nations, Chapter 70 (1756), http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Voltaire, retrieved on 2008-01-06 [6] James Heitzman, ed. (1996), "Political Impasse and Independence", A Country Study: India, U.S. Library of Congress, ISBN 0844408336, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ cgi-bin/query/r?frd/ cstdy:@field(DOCID+in0027), retrieved on 2008-01-06 [7] Peter R. Blood., ed. (1995), "YAHYA KHAN AND BANGLADESH", A Country Study: Pakistan, U.S. Library of Congress, ISBN 0844408344, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/ cstdy:@field(DOCID+pk0032), retrieved on 2008-01-06 [8] James Heitzman, ed. (1989), "PAKISTAN PERIOD, 1947-71", A Country Study: Bangladesh, U.S. Library of Congress, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/ cstdy:@field(DOCID+bd0024), retrieved on 2008-01-06 [9] George Hicks, Japan’s hidden apartheid: the Korean minority and the Japanese, (Aldershot, England; Brookfield, VT: Ashgate, 1998), 3. [10] Johnson, Chalmers, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (2000), pp.72–9 [11] LaFeber, Walter, Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America (1993) 2nd edition, p.19 [12] Max Boot (May 6, 2003), American Imperialism? No Need to Run Away from Label, Council on Foreign Relations OPEd, quoting USA Today, http://www.cfr.org/

Timeline of European emperors
The chart below shows a timeline of the European states claiming the imperial title. Dynastic changes are marked with a white line.

See also
• • • • • • • • List of empires List of largest empires List of extinct countries, empires, etc. Global empire Imperialism Colonialism Democratic empire Linguistic imperialism


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publication.html?id=5934, retrieved on 2008-01-06 [13] Lens & Zinn 2003, p. Back cover. [14] Ian Black (December 20, 2002), Living in a euro wonderland, Guardian unlimited, http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/ journalist/story/0,,863888,00.html, retrieved on 2008-01-06 [15] EU gets its military fist, BBC News, December 13, 2002, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/ 2574625.stm, retrieved on 2008-01-06 [16] Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. (August 11, 2005), Eastern Europe: Switching Empires, global Politician, http://www.globalpolitician.com/ articledes.asp?ID=1077&cid=3&sid=8, retrieved on 2008-01-06 [17] Nikolaos Tzifakis (April 2007), "EU’s region-building and boundary-drawing policies: the European approach to the Southern Mediterranean and the Western Balkans 1", Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans (informaworld) 9 (1): 47–64, doi:10.1080/ 14613190701217001, http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/ content~content=a777076388~db=all, retrieved on 2007-01-06 [18] Stephen R. Hurt, Co-operation and coercion? The Cotonou Agreement between the European Union and acp states and the end of the Lomé Convention, informaworld, doi:10.1080/ 713701373, http://taylorandfrancis.metapress.com/ index/HNG8A7X4G9BWAM84.pdf, retrieved on 2007-01-06 [19] Europeanisation and Conflict Resolution: Case Studies from the European Periphery, Belgian Science Policy, http://www.belspo.be/belspo/home/publ/ pub_ostc/WM/rS10303_en.pdf, retrieved on 2008-01-06 [20] Jan Zielonka (2006), Europe as empire: the nature of the enlarged European


Union, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-929221-3, http://users.ox.ac.uk/~polf0040/ IAReview.pdf, retrieved on 2008-01-06 [21] For the Okur’s thesis about "nation empires", look at this article : Mehmet Akif Okur, Rethinking Empire After 9/11: Towards A New Ontological Image of World Order, Perceptions, Journal of International Affairs, Volume XII, Winter 2007, pp.61-93 http://www.sam.gov.tr/ perceptions/volume12/winter/ winter-004-PERCEPTION(mehmetakifokur)%5B4%5D

• Gilpin, Robert War and Change in World Politics pp.110-116 • Johan Galtung (1996) ( – Scholar search), The Decline and Fall of Empires: A Theory of De-Development, Honolulu, http://www.transcend.org/galt.htm, retrieved on 2008-01-06 Written for the United Nations Research Institute on Development, UNRISD, Geneva. • Lens, Sidney; Zinn, Howard (2003), The Forging of the American Empire: From the Revolution to Vietnam: A History of American Imperialism, Plkuto press, ISBN 0745321003, http://books.google.com/ books?id=qvLfIHqkOOAC • Bowden, Brett (2009). The Empire of Civilization: The Evolution of an Imperial Idea. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226068145.

External links
• Historical maps of civilizations and empires • Index of Colonies and Possessions • Mehmet Akif Okur, Rethinking Empire After 9/11: Towards A New Ontological Image of World Order, Perceptions, Journal of International Affairs, Volume XII, Winter 2007, pp.61-93

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