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Historical powers

Historical powers
[edit] A Great power or Nation or Empire is a nation or state that, through its great economic, political and military strength, is able to exert power and influence over not only its own region of the world, but far beyond to others. The term "Great Power" was coined in the diplomatic discourse of the Congress and later used extensively in academic discourse and eventually by the press about the preceding eras, and refers explicitly to international powers after the Congress of Vienna (late September, 1814, to June 9, 1815). It is the object of this article to extend the concept of great power status to the eras before the Congress in order to provide coverage of the whole of human history in the same terms. roughly corresponding to that described by the modern term Middle East, during the time roughly spanning the Bronze Age from the rise of Sumer and Gerzeh in the 4th millennium BCE to the expansion of the Persian Empire in the 6th century BCE. The ancient Near East is generally understood as encompassing Mesopotamia (modern Iraq and Syria), Persia (Iran), Armenia, the Levant (Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestinian Authority), and at timesAnatolia (Turkey) and Egypt.

Ancient Powers
Ancient Near East

first farmers from Samarra arrive in Sumer, and build shrine and settlement at Eridu.

Sumer and Akkad
Sumer (or Šumer) was one of the early civilizations of the Ancient Near East, located in the southern part of Mesopotamia (southeastern Iraq) from the time of the earliest records in the mid 4th millennium BC until the rise of Babylonia in the late 3rd millennium BC. The term "Sumerian" applies to all speakers of the Sumerian language. Sumer together with Ancient Egypt and the Indus Valley Civilization is considered the first settled society in the world to have manifested all the features needed to qualify fully as a "civilization".

Map of the ancient Near East during the Amarna period, showing the great powers of the period: Egypt (green), Hatti (yellow), the Kassite kingdom of Babylon (purple), Assyria (grey), and Mittani (red). Lighter areas show direct control, darker areas represent spheres of influence. The extent of the Achaean/Mycenaean civilization is shown in orange. The terms ancient Near East or ancient Orient encompass the early civilizations predating classical antiquity in the region

Elam
Elam is one of the oldest recorded civilizations. Its culture played a crucial role in the Persian Empire, especially during the Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded it, when the Elamite language remained in official use. As

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Historical powers

Assyrian Empire Map showing the area of the Elamite Empire (in red) and the neighboring areas. The approximate Bronze Age extension of the Persian Gulf is shown. such, the Elamite period is considered a starting point for the history of Iran. Elamite strength was based on an ability to hold various areas together under a coordinated government that permitted the maximum interchange of the natural resources unique to each region. Traditionally, this was done through a federated governmental structure.

Assyria
In the earliest historical times, the term Assyria referred to a region on the Upper Tigris river, named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur. Later, as a nation and empire that came to control all of the Fertile Crescent, Egypt and much of Anatolia, the term "Assyria proper" referred to roughly the northern half of Mesopotamia (the southern half being Babylonia), with Nineveh as its capital. The Assyrian homeland was located near a mountainous region, extending along the Tigris as far as the high Gordiaean or Carduchian mountain range of Armenia, sometimes known as the "Mountains of Ashur". The Assyrian kings controlled a large kingdom at three different times in history. These are called the Old, Middle, and Neo-Assyrian kingdoms, or periods. The most powerful and best-known nation of these periods is the Neo-Assyrian kingdom, 911-612 BC.

Hittite Empire
Hurrian kingdom in 2300 BC. The Hittites were an ancient people who spoke an Indo-European language, and established a kingdom centered at Hattusa (Hittite URUḪattuša) in north-central Anatolia from the 18th century BC. In the 14th century BC, the Hittite empire was at its height, encompassing central Anatolia, north-western Syria as far as Ugarit, and upper Mesopotamia. After 1180 BC, the empire disintegrated into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some surviving until as late as the 8th century BC. The Hittites were also famous for their skill in building and using chariots. The Hittites were pioneers of the Iron Age, manufacturing iron artifacts from as early as the

Hurrian kingdoms
The Hurrians refer to a people who inhabited northern Mesopotamia beginning approximately 2500 BC. The Hurrian peoples were not incredibly united, existing as quasifeudal kingdoms, the most prominent being the Mitanni kingdom, which was at its height towards the close of the 14th century BC. By the 13th century BC, the Hurrian kingdoms had been conquered by foreign powers, chiefly the Assyrians.

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Historical powers
The Achaemenid Empire (559 BC–330 BC) was the first of the Persian Empires to rule over significant portions of Greater Iran. At the height of its power, the Empire spanned over three continents and was the most powerful empire of his time. It also eventually incorporated the following territories: in the east modern Afghanistan and beyond into central Asia, and parts of Pakistan; in the north and west all of Asia Minor (modern Turkey), the upper Balkans peninsula (Thrace), and most of the Black Sea coastal regions; in the west and southwest the territories of modern Iraq, northern Saudi-Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, all significant population centers of ancient Egypt and as far west as portions of Libya. Encompassing approximately 7.5 million square kilometers, the Achaemenid Empire was territorially the largest empire of antiquity. In its time it had political power over neighboring countries, and had high cultural and economic achievements during its lengthy rule over a vast region from its picturesque capital at Persepolis.

The Hittite Empire (red) at the height of its power in ca. 1290 BC, bordering on the Egyptian Empire (green) 14th century BC, making them possibly even the first to do so. The Hittites passed much knowledge and lore from the Ancient Near East to the newly arrived Greeks in Europe.

Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire was the third Iranian Empire to rule over most portions of Greater Iran.

Median Empire (625-550 BC)

Sassanid Empire

Median Empire

Achaemenid Empire

The normal borders of the great Sassanid Empire during much of its existence See also: Parthia The Sassanid Empire is the name used for the fourth Iranian dynasty, and the second Persian Empire (226 - 651). The empire’s territory encompassed all of today’s Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Afghanistan, eastern parts of

Achaemenid Persia at its zenith

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Historical powers

The Sassanid empire at its greatest extent. Turkey, and parts of Syria, Pakistan, Caucasia, Central Asia and Arabia. During Khosrau II’s rule in 590–628 Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon were also briefly annexed to the Empire. The Sassanid era, encompassing the length of the Late Antiquity period, is considered to be one of the most important and influential historical periods in Iran. In many ways the Sassanid period witnessed the highest achievement of Persian civilization, and constituted the last great Iranian Empire before the Muslim conquest and adoption of Islam.

The maximum territorial extent of Ancient Egypt (15th century BC) Egypt’s natural barriers, the Egyptian armies were not always able to repel them and so by 1000 BC Egyptian influence as an independent civilization waned.[1]

Ancient Africa
Very few powers emerged in Africa in the early centuries of recorded history, but those that did were quite influential in and outside of their own realms. Ancient Egypt was a power to be contended with by both the Near East, the Mediterranean and Subsahran Africa. Further to the south, the distant but never reclusive Kingdom of Kush gained a reputation for wealth and military vigor throughout the ancient world.

Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was one of the world’s first civilizations, with its beginnings in the fertile Nile valley around 3000BC. Ancient Egypt reached the zenith of its power during the New Kingdom (1570–1070 BC) under great pharaohs such as Thutmose III and Ramesses II. It expanded far south into Nubia and held wide territories in the Near East. Ancient Egypt was an example of a nation that used mainly soft power to become a major power. It was one of the first nations to have a system of writing and large scale construction projects. However, as neighboring civilizations developed militaries capable of crossing

The maximum territorial extent of Kush circa 700 BC.

Kush
The Kingdom of Kush was the earliest of the Subsaharan states and Africa as well as the first to implement iron weapons. It was heavily influenced by Egyptian colonists, but in 1070 BC it became not only independent of

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Egypt but a fierce rival. It successfully fought off attempts by Egypt to reconquer it, and it began to extend influence over Upper Egypt. By the end of King Kashta’s reign in 752 BC, Thebes was under Kushite control. A slew of able successors took the rest of Egypt and reigned as the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt stretching Kushie conrol from central Sudan to modern day Israel. The Kushites did not maintain this empire for long and were beaten back by the Assyrians in 653 BC. However, Kush remained a powerful entity in the region. It continued to meddle in Egyptian affairs and control trade resources originating in Subsaharan Africa. In waged a hard-fought campaign against the Roman Empire (27 BC - 22 BC) under the leader ship Queen Amanirenas and achieved a more than amicable peace with the young Augustus Caesar. The two states work as allies with Kush lending cavalry support to Rome in its conquest of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The kingdom of Kush maintained its status as a regional power until its conquest by the Axumite Empire in 350.

Historical powers

Map of Ancient Athens in 431 BC. (see Greek philosophy) and the arts (see Greek theatre). Some of the most important figures of Western cultural and intellectual history lived in Athens during this period: the dramatists Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Euripides and Sophocles, the philosophers Aristotle, Plato and Socrates,

Sparta

Greek colonies between the 8th and the 6th centuries BC.

Greek powers
Athens
The History of Ancient Athens is one of the longest of any city in Europe and in the world. Athens has been continuously inhabited for at least 3,000 years. It became the leading city of Ancient Greece in the first millennium BC. Its cultural achievements during the 5th century BC laid the foundations of western civilization. During the Middle Ages, Athens experienced decline and then a recovery under the Byzantine Empire. Athens was relatively prosperous during the Crusades, benefiting from Italian trade. The 5th century BC marked the zenith of Athens as a center of literature, philosophy Territory of ancient Sparta In antiquity Sparta was a Dorian Greek military state, originally centered in Laconia. As a city-state devoted to military training, Sparta possessed the most formidable army in the Greek world, and after achieving notable victories over the Athenian and Persian Empires, regarded itself as the natural protector of Greece.[2] Laconia or Lacedaemon (Λακεδαίμων) was the name of the wider city-state centered at the city of Sparta,

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though the name "Sparta" is now used for both. Following the victories in the Messenian Wars (631 BC), Sparta’s reputation as a landfighting force was unequaled.[3] In 480 BC a small Spartan unit under King Leonidas made a legendary last stand against a massive, invading Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae. One year later, Sparta assembled at full strength and led a Greek alliance against the Persians at Plataea. There, a decisive Greek victory put an end to the Greco-Persian War along with Persian ambition of expanding into Europe. Even though this war was won by a pan-Greek army, credit was given to Sparta, who besides being the protagonist at Thermopylae and Plataea, had been the nominal leader of the entire Greek expedition.[4] In later Classical times, Sparta along with Athens, Thebes and Persia had been the main regional powers fighting for supremacy against each other. As a result of the Peloponnesian War, Sparta, a traditionally continental culture, became a naval power. At the peak of her power she subdued many of the key Greek states and even managed to overpower the powerful Athenian navy. By the end of the 5th century she stood out as a state which had defeated at war both the Persian and Athenian Empires, a period which marks the Spartan Hegemony. Sparta was, above all, a militarist state, and emphasis on military fitness began virtually at birth.

Historical powers
known world, including the entire Achaemenid Empire, inaugurating the Hellenistic period of Greek history.

Carthaginian Empire in the 3rd century BC

Carthage
Carthage was a major power over the Western Mediterranean between 575 BC and 272 BC. Carthage as a major power was originally a Phoenician settlement, and when Tyre fell to the Assyrians Carthage assumed power over the former settlements of the region. The foundation of Carthaginian power was seafaring trade throughout the Western Mediterranean (following the tracks of the Phoenicians). Although Rome was originally a land based military power, eventually it saw Carthage as an enemy and built a navy to challenge them, which led to the three Punic Wars between these powers. The last of these eliminated Carthage as an independent civilization, and left Rome as the most impressive power in the Western Mediterranean.

Map of Alexander the Great’s empire.

Greek Macedonian Empire
Macedon or Macedonia (from Greek Μακεδονία Makedonía; see also List of traditional Greek place names) was the name of an ancient kingdom in the northern-most part of ancient Greece, bordering the kingdom of Epirus on the west and the region of Thrace to the east.[5] For a brief period it became the most powerful state in the world after Alexander the Great conquered most of the

The division of Alexander’s empire, showing the Seleucid Empire amongst other Hellenistic kingdoms.

Hellenistic Kingdoms
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Historical powers
Chandragupta Maurya. Chandragupta waged a war against the nearby Greek powers and won, forcing the Greeks to surrender large amounts of land. Under the reign of Ashoka the Great, the empire became pacifist and turned to spreading its soft power in the form of Buddhism.[6]

Seleucid Empire

Ptolemaic Empire in 300 BC.

Ptolemaic Egypt

South Asian powers
For most of its history, South Asia (Indian subcontinent) was divided into numerous states. Very few South Asian powers dominated most of the region. However, several South Asian empires were able to expand across Southern Asia, and sometimes into parts of the Middle East, Central Asia and Southeast Asia.

The Gupta Empre under Chandragupta II (ruled 375-415)

Gupta Empire

Maurya Empire at its greatest extent under Ashoka the Great.

Maurya Empire
The Mauryan Empire was the first political entity to unite most of the Indian subcontinent and expand into Central Asia and the Middle East. Its soft power further spread into much of Persia and Greece due to its military victories over these regions. Its cultural influence also extended into Egypt and Syria. The Empire was founded in 322 BC by Qin Empire in 210 BC

China

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Historical powers

Qin Dynasty
The Qin Dynasty was preceded by the feudal Zhou Dynasty and followed by the Han Dynasty in China. The unification of China in 221 BCE under the First Emperor Qin Shi Huang marked the beginning of Imperial China, a period which lasted until the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912. The Qin Dynasty left a legacy of a centralized and bureaucratic state that would be carried onto successive dynasties.

Han Dynasty

The Roman Empire under Trajan (98 - 117). This would be the Empire’s peak territorial power Han Dynasty of China were the two major empires at this time. Rome also had a developed culture, building on the earlier Greek culture. From the time of Augustus to the Fall of the Western Empire, Rome dominated Western Eurasia, comprising the majority of its population. At this time it was the strongest empire in the world. Roman expansion began long before the state was changed into an Empire and reached its zenith under emperor Trajan with the conquest of Dacia in AD 106. At this territorial peak, the Roman Empire controlled approximately 5,900,000 km² (2,300,000 sq.mi.) of land surface. Rome’s influence upon the culture, law, technology, arts, language, religion, government, military, and architecture of Western civilization continues to this day.

Han Empire in 87 BC The Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220), lasting 400 years, is commonly considered within China to be one of the greatest periods in the entire history of China. At its height, the Han empire extended over a vast territory of 6 million km² and housed a population of approximately 55 million. During this time period, China became a military, economic, and cultural powerhouse. The empire extended its political and cultural influence over Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, and Central Asia before it finally collapsed under a combination of domestic and external pressures. The Han Dynasty was arguably one of the strongest’s empires in the world during the reign of Emperor Wu, though was established as the largest.

Medieval Powers

Roman Empire
The Roman Empire is widely known as Europe’s largest and most powerful civilization. After the Punic Wars Rome was already the biggest empire on the planet but its expansion continued with the invasions of Greece and Asia Minor. By 27 BC Rome had control over half of Europe as well as Northern Africa and large amounts of the Middle East. The Roman Empire, together with the

The Byzantine Empire at its greatest extent c. 550. Territories in violet reconquered during reign of Justinian the Great

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Historical powers
conquered the Persian Empire and Roman Syria under the famous general Khalid ibn alWalid, as well as Roman Egypt and Central Asia, all within a decade.

Byzantine Empire (330 - 1453)
The Byzantine Empire is the modern name for the medieval eastern Roman Empire, which survived another 1000 years after the fall of the western Roman Empire, and even managed to reconquer great parts of it. Ancient Roman cultural heritage survived there and gave birth to the Italian Renaissance after its capital, Constantinople, was captured by the Turks in the fifteenth century. The Byzantines were the only Europeans to produce fine silk which was an important source of their wealth along with trade. Byzantium was a major military power with a huge army and strong fleet, and was a major cultural and religious center. It was the stronghold of Eastern Orthodox Christianity and thus influenced many states. It fought against the Arabs to the south, the Bulgarians to the north and the Crusaders, who managed to seize Constantinople in 1204. The Byzantines restored their state in 1261, but its strength never recovered and it was eventually destroyed and replaced by the nascent Ottoman Empire in 1453.

Umayyad Caliphate
The Umayyad Caliphate completed the Muslim expansion after conquering Roman North Africa, Visigothic Hispania, Southern Italy, and parts of the northwestern Indian subcontinent and northwestern China. As a result, the Arab Empire became the largest empire the world had yet seen. However, Umayyad expeditions into the Frankish Kingdom and Byzantium were unsuccessful, as they were eventually stopped by the Bulgarians and Byzantines in 718 and the Franks in 732. Nonetheless, the Caliphate remained a huge military power with a mighty navy.

Abbasid Caliphate

Arab Empire (632 - 1258)
In 622, a new world religion emerged, Islam, founded by Muhammad in Arabia. After his death, his successors began a century of rapid Arab expansion across most of the known world, establishing the Arab Empire as one of the largest empires the world had yet seen.

The Abbasid Caliphate at its greatest extent The period of the Abbasid Caliphate is considered the Golden Age of Islam. The empire was rich with flourishing trade across Asia, Europe and Africa. Its culture was thriving, influenced by the Persians, and boasted great achievements in its economy, arts, architecture, literature, mathematics, philosophy, science, and technology. Many cities grew with large populations, beautiful palaces and gardens such as Baghdad, which had a population of a million at its peak, as well as Damascus, Cairo and Cordoba. The Caliphate eventually diminished in size, and was further reduced during the Crusades. The Caliphate later disintegrated after invasions from the Mongol Empire from the east, ending with the sack of Baghdad in 1258.

The expansion of the Arab Empire under the Rashidun and Umayyads. Expansion under the Prophet Muhammad, 622-632 Expansion during the Patriarchal Caliphate, 632-661 Expansion during the Umayyad Caliphate, 661-750

Rashidun Caliphate
Under the Rashidun Caliphate, the Muslim Arabs defeated the powerful Sassanid Persian Empire during the Islamic conquest of Persia and the Byzantine Empire during the Byzantine-Arab Wars. The Arabs eventually

Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus (Arabic: ???????‎) was the Arabic name given to those parts of the Iberian Peninsula governed by Muslims, or Moors, at various times in the period between 711 and

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Historical powers

The Caliphate of Cordoba c. 1000 at the apogee of Al-Mansur. 1492.[7] As a political domain or domains, it was successively a province of the Umayyad Caliphate initiated successfully by the Caliph Al-Walid I (711-750), the Emirate of Córdoba (c. 750-929), the Caliphate of Córdoba (929-1031), and finally the Caliphate of Córdoba’s taifa (successor) kingdoms.

The First Bulgarian Empire’s greatest territorial extent during the reign of Tsar Simeon[8] Christianity and the invention of the Cyrillic Alphabet, the Bulgarian Empire became the cultural and spiritual centre of the whole Slavic world. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church became the first National Church in Europe to gain its independence in 927 with its own Patriarch. The Bulgarian Empire reached its biggest size in the early 900s stretching from the Black Sea to Bosnia. [5]

Fatimid Caliphate

The Fatimid dynasty at its peak The Fatimids, Fatimid Caliphate or alFātimiyyūn (Arabic ?????????) is the Arab Shi’a dynasty that ruled over varying areas of the Maghreb, Egypt, and the Levant from 5 January 909 to 1171, and established the Egyptian city of Cairo as their capital.

Ghaznavid Empire at its greatest extent

Bulgaria (880s - 930s)
In 681 the Bulgarians established a powerful state which played a major military and cultural role in Medieval Europe [3]. Bulgaria decisively defeated the Arabs in the battle before Constantinople (718) and stopped the Arab invasion in the eastern parts of the continent [4] effectively stopping the migrations of the barbarian tribes (Pechenegs, Magyars, Khazars) further to the west. It destroyed the Avars Khanate in 806. With the adoption of

Ghaznavid Empire (960s - 998) Kingdom of Hungary (1300s 1380s) Frankish Empire (790s - 840s)
The Franks were united for the first time by Clovis I in the late 5th century. In 732 they managed to defeat the Arabs at Poitiers,

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Historical powers
Nation from the late 15th century onwards. For centuries historians have treated the Holy Roman Empire as completely distinct from the Roman Empire of classical times. At its post-Carolingian peak, the Holy Roman Empire encompassed the territories of present-day Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Belgium, and the Netherlands as well as large parts of modern Poland, France and Italy.

Angevin Empire (1154 - 1453)
Growth of Frankish Power 481-814 AD thereby halting their invasion of Western Europe. During the reign of Charlemagne, it reached its greatest extent, encompassing most of the territory of the Western Roman Empire, and eventually he was proclaimed Emperor by the Pope in 800. He Christianised the pagan peoples he defeated. This was a period of cultural revival known as the Carolingian Renaissance with important educational and writing reforms. The empire disintegrated into three parts after the death of his son Louis the Pious, from which later emerged France and Germany.

Holy Roman Empire (840s 1510s)
English territory in France during the Hundred Years War. The Angevin Empire was a collection of states ruled by the Plantagenet dynasty. The Plantagenets ruled over the Kingdom of England, the Duchy of Normandy, the Duchy of Aquitaine, the Duchy of Gascony and various French counties (constituting approximatley half of the then kingdom of France), the Lordship of Ireland, and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Their empire in France stretched from the Pyrenees to the English Channel over the 12th century to the 15th century. The empire started when Plantegenet Henry II was made King of England. Successive Plantegenet kings of England possessed large areas of territory in France throughout much of the middle ages. Although England was the main source of revenue, the strategic situation meant the early Plantagenets usually ruled their empire from France, notably

The extent of the Holy Roman Empire in c.1630, superimposed over modern European state borders The Holy Roman Empire was a mainly Germanic conglomeration of lands in Central Europe during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. It was also known as the Holy Roman Empire of the German

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from Poitiers, the capital of Aquitaine, which was the birthplace of the dynasty, and they were buried in the Fontevraud Abbey near Poitiers. Starting with John Lackland the centre of political activity shifted to England due to the loss of most of their continental territories. The end of the empire began when the Plantagenets were defeated by the king of France, Philip II Augustus, of the House of Capet, which left their empire split in two, losing the provinces Normandy and Anjou. This defeat, which left the ruling Plantagenets with their English territories and Gascony in France, set the scene for the Hundred Years’ War, which started when the Plantagenet kings, provoked by French aggression against their trading partners in the Low Countries, proclaimed themselves rightful kings of France. The war lasted 116 years and despite many great English victories over larger French forces such as the Battle of Sluys, Battle of Crécy, Battle of Poitiers, and Battle of Agincourt, the rival Valois claimants eventually conquered the majority of France, except for enclaves such as Calais, which ended the empire. The term ’Angevin Empire’ is a modern construction as the empire had no such collective term at the time.

Historical powers

Territories of the house of Valois-Burgundy during the reign of Charles the Bold

Ayyubid Sultanate (1171 - 1246)

Ayyubid Empire in its greatest extent. The Ayybid Sultanate in the Middle East managed to rebuild the weakened Arab State, uniting Egypt, Syria, Hijas and parts of Iraq Libya and Sudan under its control, they managed to kick out the Crusader States.

The maximum extent of the Aragonese Empire.

Kingdoms of Aragon (1340s 1480)
The Crown of Aragon was a Maritime Empire in the later Middle Ages that controlled a large portion of present-day northeastern Spain and southeastern Italy, as well as possessions stretching across the Mediterranean Sea as far as Greece. It originated in 1137, when the Kingdom of Aragon and the possessions of the County of Barcelona merged by dynastic union into what later would be

Valois Burgundy (1419-1477)

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known as the Crown of Aragon. In 1479 a new dynastic union merged the Crown of Aragon with the Crown of Castile, thus making the dawn of the Spanish Empire. The Crown of Aragon lasted through 1716, when it was abolished by the Nueva Planta decrees as a result of the Aragonese defeat in the War of the Spanish Succession.

Historical powers

Kingdom of Castile (1230 1480)

Papal States in 1796. Limits of the Kingdom of Castile in 1360 (incorporating León) The Kingdom of Castile was one of the medieval kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. It was created as a politically autonomous entity in the 9th century: it was called County of Castile and was held in vassalage from the Kingdom of León, which was later incorporated. Its name is supposed to be related to the host of castles constructed in the region. It was one of the ancestor kingdoms of the Kingdom of Spain. ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the pope is called the Holy See or Apostolic See.

Kalmar Union (1397-1523)

Papal States (756 - 1870)
The Papal States comprised those territories over which the Pope was the ruler in a civil as well as a spiritual sense before 1870. The plural Papal States is usually preferred; the singular Papal State is rather used for the modern State of Vatican City. By the Lateran Treaty of 1929, State of Vatican City was established. The history of the Roman Catholic Church from apostolic times covers a period of nearly two thousand years, making it the world’s oldest and largest institution. The office of the pope is called the Papacy. And the

Kalmar Union in the beginning of the 16 th century Kalmar Union was a Personal union between the three kingdoms in the region

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Scandinavia, Sweden, Denmark and Norway often seen as a reaction against the powerful Hanseatic League and Teutonic Knights which at that time had a major influence in northern Europe. The union was established in a meeting in Kalmar 1397. Copenhagen became the capital of the Union and the Danish regent became the ruler of the Union which in the end were the reason for severe tensions between Sweden and Denmark-Norway. The Kalmar Union had a larger area than any other country in Europe at the time. The most prominent regent during this time was Margarethe I. The last Danish king of the Union, Christian II, populary called Christian the Tyrant in Sweden, ordered a massacre called Stockholm Bloodbath at approximately 84 Swedish nobelmen and other leading men in 1520 just after his own coronation, he had before that promised the Swedish people that he would forget earlier hostilities. Gustav Vasa, a Swedish nobelman was starting a successful rebellion with the help of the notorious rebellious miners from the region Dalarna against Danmark-Norway and became the founder of the first Swedish royal dynasty in 1523 with inheritance from father to son.

Historical powers
bringing together Islamic scholars from all over the Muslim World.

China (630s - 1590s)
The start of the Sui Dynasty in China after the end of the turbulent and chaotic Northern and Southern Dynasty marks China as one of the most powerful countries in the world economically and militarily. Below are some of the dynasties that occurred during this era:

Tang Dynasty 630s - 760s

Mali Empire (1300 - 1450)

Taizong "reign" 616-649 Colors show the succession of Taizong (Tang) conquest in Asia : Shanxi (617 : his father is governor, Taizong support his revolt.) Sui’s Empire Protector (618). Tang dynasty 618. Controlled all of Sui’s China by 622-626. Submit the Oriental Turks territories (630-682) Tibetan’s King recognizes China as their emperor[9] (641-670) Submit the Occidental Turks territories (642-665) (idem) add
the Oasis (640-648 : northern Oasis ; 648 : southern

[Not shown in the map : Conquest of Goguryeo by his son (661-668)] The two darkest area are the area under the direct control of the Chinese empire, the 3 lightest area are under nominal control and/or vassals. Borders are not factual, they are indicatives.
Oasis)

The Mali Empire, c. 1350 The Mali Empire was a medieval state of West Africa. The empire was founded by Sundiata Keita and became renowned for the generosity and wealth of its rulers, especially Mansa Kankan Musa I. The Mali Empire had profound cultural influences on West Africa allowing the spread of its language, laws and customs along the Niger River. Musa was a devoted Muslim and Islamic scholarship flourished under his rule; the Sankore University in Timbuktu reached its height,

The Tang Dynasty, with its capital at Chang’an (present-day Xi’an), the most populous city in the world at the time, is regarded by historians as a high point in Chinese civilization — equal to or surpassing that of the Han Dynasty - as well as a golden age of cosmopolitan culture. Its territory, acquired through the military campaigns of its early rulers, was greater than that of the Han period, and rivaled that of the later Yuan Dynasty and Qing Dynasty. The influence of Chinese culture reached the highest peak in history and the result can even be found in countries around modern China. During its height,

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Tang Dynasty China was one of the greatest powers of the time.

Historical powers
The Yuan Dynasty (Chinese: ??; pinyin: Yuáncháo; Mongolian: Dai Ön Yeke Mongghul Ulus), lasting officially from 1271 to 1368, followed the Song Dynasty and preceded the Ming Dynasty in the historiography of China. The dynasty was established by ethnic Mongols, and it had nominal control over the entire Mongol Empire (stretching from Eastern Europe to the fertile crescent to Russia); however, the Mongol rulers in Asia were only interested in China. Later successors did not even attempt to stake claim over the Khakhan title and saw themselves as Emperor of China, as the Yuan Dynasty grew from being an Imperial Mongol administration under Kublai Khan to becoming a basically Chinese institution under his successors.

Song Dynasty 990s - 1080s

Ming Dynasty 1370s - 1590s
The Song Dynasty (yellow) along with the Liao and Western Xia Dynasty During the Song Dynasty, the wealth of China attracted numerous attacks from the north and the dynasty gradually retreated to the south. For the first time in history, China needed to donate its wealth annually to buy peace. Ironically, the development of Chinese culture reached the highest peak in history due to the artistic character of the emperors. The technological advancement and policies also led to rapid growth of wealth and improvement of living standard.

Yuan Dynasty 1270s - 1320s

Ming Empire under Yongle Emperor The Ming Dynasty was the last ethnic Han Chinese-led dynasty in China, supplanting the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty before falling to the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty. At its pinnacle, the Ming Empire was one of greatest powers of its time. Ming rule saw the construction of a vast navy, including fourmasted ships of 1,500 tons displacement, and a standing army of 1,000,000 troops. Over 100,000 tons of iron per year were produced in North China (roughly 1 kg per inhabitant),

Yuen Dynasty in 1294.

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and many books were printed using movable type. Internally, the Great Wall was refurbished to its current state, and the Grand Canal of China was renovated, thus boasting domestic trade.

Historical powers

Mongol Empire (1210s - 1270s)

French map of Khmer empire.

Expansion of the Mongol Empire The Mongol Empire was the largest contiguous land empire in world history, covering over 33 million km² [6] at its peak, with an estimated population of over 100 million people. The Mongol Empire was founded by Genghis Khan in 1206, and at its height, it encompassed the majority of the territories from southeast Asia to central Europe. The Mongol expansion brought about mass depopulation in China and Persia and facilitated the transmission of the Black Death as a pandemic, but also helped bring political stability to Asia and re-establish the Silk Road.

Chola Empire (1010-1200)
The Chola Empire had India and much of Southeast Asia.

Chola Empire at the height of its power

Timurid Empire (1370 – 1526)

Modern Powers (1400-1815)
France (1450s - 1945)

Map of the Timurid Empire

Map of the first (light blue) and second (dark blue — plain and hachured) French colonial empires.

Khmer Empire (802-1431)
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Historical powers
Doges of Venice were elected for life by the republic’s aristocracy.

Qing China in 1892. French European conquests in 1811. France was a dominant empire possessing many colonies in various locations around the world.

China (1660s - 1800s)
The Qing Dynasty, occasionally known as the Manchu Dynasty, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1644 to 1912. The Qing Dynasty was the last Imperial dynasty of China. During its reign, the Qing Dynasty consolidated its grip on China, integrated with Chinese culture, and saw the height of Imperial Chinese influence. The collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1912 brought an end to over 2,000 years of imperial China rule.

Persian Empire (1580s - 1690s)

Republic of Venice in 1796.

Venetian Republic (1480s 1710s)
The Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice, and existed for a millennium from the late 7th century(697) until the year 1797 when the Austrians took its possessions. In the high Middle Ages, it became very wealthy through the trade between Europe and the Levant. The leader of Venetian Republic was called a Doge.

The Safavid Empire at its 1512 borders. The Safavids (1501-1722) are considered as the greatest Iranian Empire since the Islamic conquest of Persia. The Safavid empire originated from Ardabil in Iranian Azerbaijan in northern Iran. It was a Turkic-speaking dynasty whose classical and cultural language was Persian.[10][11] The Safavid dynasty had its origins in a long established Sufi order,

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called the Safaviyeh. The Safavids established an independent unified Iranian state for the first time after the Islamic conquest of Persia and reasserted Iranian political identity, and established Shia Islam as the official religion in Iran.

Historical powers
the world’s largest navy gave it undisputed control of the seas and international trade routes, an unassailable advantage which helped the British Empire, after a mid-century liberal reaction against empire-building, to grow faster than ever before. The Victorian empire colonised large parts of Africa, including such territories as South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Sudan, Nigeria, and Ghana, most of Oceania, colonies in the Far East, such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, and took control over all the Indian Subcontinent, making it the largest empire in the world. After victory in the First World War the empire gained control of territories such as Tanzania, and Namibia, from the German Empire, and Iraq, and Palestine from the Ottoman Empire. By this point in 1920 the British empire had grown to become the largest empire in history, controlling approximately 25% of the world’s land surface and 25% of the world’s population.[12] It covered about 36.6 million km² (14.2 million square miles),[13]. Because of its magnitude, it was often referred to as The empire on which the sun never sets. The political and social changes and economic disruption in the United Kingdom and throughout the world caused by First World War followed only two decades later by the Second World War caused the empire to gradually break up as colonies were given independence. Much of the reason the empire ceased was because many colonies by the mid 20th century were no longer as undeveloped as at the arrival of British control nor as dependent and social changes throughout the world during the first half of the 20th century gave rise to national identity. The British Government, reeling from the economic cost of two successive world wars and changing social attitudes towards empire, felt it could no longer afford to maintain it if the country were to recover economically, pay for the newly created welfare state, and fight the newly emerged Cold War with the Soviet Union. Nonetheless, most former colonies of the British Empire remained members of the Commonwealth of Nations, with Queen Elizabeth II as head of the Comonwealth. Some members have retained the British monarch as their head of state as Commonwealth realms and remain in intimate if informal association. A few scattered islands remain

British Empire (1600 - 1947)

Anachronous map showing British Empire from 1600-1947. By 1920 it had become the largest empire in history, constituting approximately 25% of the world’s surface and 25% of the world’s people. [12] The British Empire was the largest empire in world history and between 1815-1914 was unchallenged as the foremost global power. The empire began in the 17th century as a combination of factors led to its creation, such as the growth in British trade with India and the Far East, the success of the British East India Company, numerous British maritime explorations around the world, and the vast Royal Navy. British colonies were created along the east coast of North America during the 17th century and 18th century but by the late 18th century most of these colonies rebelled against British rule, leading to the American War of Independence and formation of the United States of America. Nevertheless Great Britain retained significant colonies in Canada, the Caribbean and India, and shortly thereafter began the settlement of Australia and New Zealand. Following France’s defeat in the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, Great Britain took possession of many more overseas territories in Africa and Asia, and established informal empires of free trade in South America, China and Persia. It was after this period during the 19th century that the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to industrialise and embrace free trade, giving birth to the Industrial Revolution. This rapid industrial growth transformed Great Britain into the world’s largest industrial and financial power, while

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under direct British control as British Overseas Territories.

Historical powers

Low Countries/The Netherlands

A map showing the territory that the Netherlands held at various points in history. Dark green indicates colonies that either were, or originated from, land controlled by the Dutch West India Company, light green the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch Empire[7] is the name given to the various territories controlled by the Netherlands from the 17th to the 20th century. Their skills in shipping and trading aided the building of an over seas colonal Empire from the 16th to 20th centuries. The Dutch initially built up colonial possessions on the basis of indirect state capitalist corporate colonialism, with the dominant Dutch East India Company. A cultural flowering roughly spanning the 17th century is known as the Dutch Golden Age, in which Dutch trade, science, and art were among the most acclaimed in the world.

Ottoman Empire, 1299–1683 continents (see: extent of Ottoman territories) controlling much of Southeastern Europe, the Middle East and most of North Africa. The empire has been called by historians a "Universal Empire" due to both Roman and Islamic traditions.[14] The empire was at the center of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries. The Ottoman Empire was the only Islamic power to seriously challenge the rising power of Western Europe between the 15th and 19th centuries. With Istanbul (or Constantinople) as its capital, the Empire was in some respects an Islamic successor of earlier Mediterranean empires - the Roman and Byzantine empires.

Poland-Lithuania (1569 - 1795)

Mughal Empire (1550s - 1700s)
The Mughal empire at its greatest territorial extent ruled most of the Indian subcontinent, and parts of what is now Afghanistan. The Mughal Empire was established in 1526 by the Timurid prince Babur, when he defeated Ibrahim Lodi. Under Akbar the Great the Empire grew considerably. The empire commanded wealth and resources unparalleled in Indian history. The Mughal period would see a blending of Indian, Iranian and Central Asian artistic, intellectual and literary traditions more than any other in Indian history.

Ottoman Empire (1450s - 1680s)
Ottoman Empire (1299 to 1922) was a Turkish state, which at the height of its power (16th - 17th centuries) spanned three

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth at its greatest extent (ca. 1635). The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, also known as the First Polish Republic, (Polish: Pierwsza Rzeczpospolita Polska or

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Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów (Republic of Both Nations); Lithuanian: Abiejų tautų respublika) or as the "First Republic," was one of the largest, most powerful and most populous[15] countries in 16th, 17th, and 18th century Europe. Its political structure — that of a semi-federal, semi-confederal aristocratic republic — was formed in 1569 by the Union of Lublin, which united the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and lasted in this form until the adoption of the Constitution of May 3, 1791.

Historical powers

Member states of the German Empire (peach), with Prussia in blue under the reign of Frederick II of Prussia (1740–86). During the 19th century, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck pursued a policy of uniting the German principalities into a "Lesser Germany" which would exclude the Austrian Empire.

An anachronous map of the Portuguese Empire (1415-1999). Red - actual possessions; Pink - explorations, areas of influence and trade and claims of sovereignty; Blue - main sea explorations, routes and areas of inluence. The disputed discovery of Australia is not shown.

Russia

Portugal (1415 - 1999)
The Portuguese Empire was the first global empire in history, and also the earliest and longest lived of the Western European colonial empires, existing from 1415 to 1999. Portugal’s small size and population restricted the empire to a collection of small but well defended outposts along the shoreline. The height of the empire power was reached in the 16th century but the indifference of the Habsburg kings and the competition with new colonial empires like the British, French and Dutch started its long and gradual decline. After the 18th century Portugal concentrated in the colonization of Brazil and African possessions.

Russian Empire (dark green) and areas within its sphere of influence (light green) as of 1866, at the time of the maximum territorial expansion of the empire.[16] The Russian Empire as a state, existed from 1721 until it was declared a republic the 1st of September 1917. The Russian Empire formed from what was Tsardom of Russia under Peter the Great. Peter I, (1672–1725), played a major role in bringing his country into the European state system, and laid the foundations of a modern state in Russia. From its modest beginnings in the 14th century, Russia had become the largest state in the world by Peter’s time. Three times the size of continental Europe, it spanned the Eurasian landmass from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean.

Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia dominated northern Germany politically, economically, and in terms of population, and was the core of the unified North German Confederation formed in 1867, which became part of the German Empire or Deutsches Reich in 1871. Prussia attained its greatest importance in the 18th and 19th centuries. During the 18th century, it became a European great power

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Historical powers
conflict that contributed to the slow decline of Spanish power from the mid-17th century. In the Mediterranean, Spain warred constantly with the Ottoman Empire; on the European continent, France became comparably strong. Overseas, Spain was initially rivaled by Portugal, and later by the English and Dutch. In addition, English-, French-, and Dutch-sponsored privateering and piracy, overextension of Spanish military commitments in its territories, increasing government corruption, and economic stagnation caused by military expenditures ultimately contributed to the empire’s weakening.

Spain

An anachronous map showing areas pertaining to the Spanish Empire at various times over a period exceeding 400 years. In the 16th century Spain and Portugal were in the vanguard of European global exploration and colonial expansion and the opening of trade routes across the oceans, with trade flourishing across the Atlantic Ocean between Spain and the Americas and across the Pacific Ocean between Asia-Pacific and Mexico via the Philippines. Conquistadors toppled the Aztec, Inca, and Maya civilizations, and laid claim to vast stretches of land in North and South America. For a time, the Spanish Empire dominated the oceans with its navy and ruled the European battlefield with its infantry, the famous tercios. Spain enjoyed a cultural golden age in the 16th and 17th centuries as Europe’s foremost power. From 1580 to 1640 the Portuguese Empire and the Spanish Empire were conjoined in a personal union of its Habsburg monarchs, during the period of the Iberian Union, though the empires continued to be administered separately. From the middle of the 16th century silver and gold from the American mines increasingly financed the military capability of Habsburg Spain in its long series of European and North African wars. Until the loss of its American colonies in the 19th century, Spain maintained one of the largest empires in the world, even though it suffered fluctuating military and economic fortunes from the 1640s. Confronted by the new experiences, difficulties and suffering created by empirebuilding, Spanish thinkers formulated some of the first modern thoughts on natural law, sovereignty, international law, war, and economics — they even questioned the legitimacy of imperialism — in related schools of thought referred to collectively as the School of Salamanca. Constant contention with rival powers caused territorial, commercial, and religious

Map of the joint Spanish (red) and Portuguese (blue) Empires during the Iberian Union. Spain’s European empire was finally undone by the Peace of Utrecht (1713), which stripped Spain of its remaining territories in Italy and the Low Countries. Spain’s fortunes improved thereafter, but it remained a second rate power in Continental European politics. However, Spain maintained and enlarged its vast overseas empire until the 19th century, when the shock of the Peninsular War sparked declarations of independence in Quito (1809), Venezuela and Paraguay (1811) and successive revolutions that split away its territories on the mainland (the Spanish Main) of the Americas. Spain retained significant fragments of its empire in the Caribbean (Cuba and Puerto Rico); Asia (Philippines), and Oceania (Guam, Micronesia, Palau, and Northern Marianas) until the Spanish–American War of 1898. Spanish participation in the Scramble for Africa was minimal: Spanish Morocco was held until 1956 and Spanish Guinea and the Spanish Sahara were held until 1968 and 1975 respectively. The Canary Islands, Ceuta, Melilla and the other plazas de soberanía on the northern African coast have remained part of Spain.

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Historical powers
economy had deteriorated. It would become the lifetime task of Charles’ son, Charles XI (1655-1697), to rebuild the economy and refit the army. His legacy to his son, the coming ruler of Sweden Charles XII, was one of the finest arsenals in the world, a large standing army and a great fleet. Sweden’s largest threat at this time, Russia, had a larger army but was far behind in both equipment and training. The Swedish army crushed the Russians at the Battle of Narva in 1700, one of the first battles of the Great Northern War. This led to an overambitious campaign against Russia in 1707, however, ending in a decisive Russian victory at the Battle of Poltava (1709). The campaign had a successful opening for Sweden, which came to occupy half of Poland and making Charles able to claim the Polish throne. But after a long march exposed by cossack raids, the Russian Tsar Peter the Great’s scorched-earth techniques and the cold Russian climate, the Swedes stood weakened with a shattered confidence, and enormously outnumbered against the Russian army at Poltava. The defeat meant the beginning of the end for Sweden as an empire. Even though Sweden had lost almost half of its army during these times of intense war, Charles XII still attempted to invade Norway 1716, and the Swedish Empire crumbled when having to sign the Treaty of Nystad losing the war 1721. Three years earlier the king had been shot during a siege attempt at Fredriksten (30 November 1718). The lands Sweden had to cede clearly marked the end of Sweden’s role as the foremost nation of the Baltic Sea with Russia taking its place. It also made Russia able to step forward as a new empire and become one of Europe’s leading nations. In the eighteenth century, Sweden did not have enough resources to maintain its territories outside Scandinavia and most of them were lost, culminating with the 1809 loss of the territory once named Österland (Eastern district) and the eastern part of Norrland to Russia: these parts became the semiautonomous (Duchy) of Finland of Imperial Russia. After Denmark-Norway was defeated in the Napoleonic wars, Norway was ceded to the king of Sweden on January 14, 1814, at the Treaty of Kiel. The Norwegian attempts to keep their status as a sovereign state were rejected by the Swedish king, Charles XIII.

Sweden
The seventeenth century saw the rise of Sweden as one of the Great Powers in Europe. Sweden also had colonial possessions as a minor colonial Empire that existed from 1638-1663 and later 1784-1878.

Formation of the Swedish Empire, 1560-1660 Sweden was during Imperial times the most powerful country of northern Europe and the Baltic Sea. Sweden’s Imperial status took its start with Gustav II Adolph as king, and his successful participation in the Thirty Years’ War, which made Sweden the recognized leader of Continental Protestantism in Europe until 1721 when the Empire collapsed. Sweden’s Imperial status during this period is largely credited to Gustav I’s major changes on the Swedish economy in the mid-1500s, and his introduction of Protestantism. The mid 1600s and the early 1700s were Sweden’s most successful years as a Great Power. Sweden reached its largest territorial extent during the rule of Charles X (1622–1660) after the treaty of Roskilde in 1658. However, after more than a half century of almost constant warfare the Swedish

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He launched a military campaign against Norway on July 27, 1814, ending in the Convention of Moss, which forced Norway into a personal union with Sweden, which was not dissolved until 1905. The 1814 campaign was also the last war in which Sweden participated as a combatant.

Historical powers

References
[1] Math in Ancient Egypt [2] The Macedonian Empire: the era of warfare under Philip II and Alexander the Great, 359-323 B.C. - James R. [3] "A Historical Commentary on Thucydides" - David Cartwright, p. 176 [4] Britannica ed. 2006, "Sparta" [5] "Macedonia" - Britannica 2006 [6] Ancient India - Chandragupta Maurya [7] "Andalus, al-" Oxford Dictionary of Islam. John L. Esposito, Ed. Oxford University Press. 2003. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Accessed 12 June 2006. [8] Map of late 9th century eastern central Europe [9] See, e.g., Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 196. [10] Encyclopaedia Iranica. R. N. Frye. Peoples of Iran. [11] [http://www.tau.ac.il/dayancenter/mel/ lewis.html Iran in History ] by Bernard Lewis [12] ^ Angus Maddison. The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective (p. 98, 242). OECD, Paris, 2001. [13] Bruce R. Gordon. To Rule the Earth... (See Bibliography for sources used.) [14] H. Inaicik "The rise of the Ottoman Empire" in P.M. Holt, A.K. S. Lambstone, and B. Lewis (eds), "The Cambridge History of Islam" (Cambridge University). pages 295-200 [15] Heritage: Interactive Atlas: PolishLithuanian Commonwealth, last accessed on 19 March 2006 At its apogee, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth comprised some 400,000 square miles (1,000,000 km2) and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million. For population comparisons, see also those maps: [1], [2]. [16] After 1866, Alaska was sold and South Sakhalin lost to Japan, but Batum, Kars, Pamir, and the Transcaspian region (Turkmenistan) were acquired. The map incorrectly shows Tuva in dark green, although in reality protectorate over Tuva was only established in 1914.

American Precolumbian Empires
Maya Civilization Aztek Empire Inca Empire

Inca expansion (1438–1527)

See also
• Great power • History of warfare • Early Modern Age

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Historical powers

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