geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a central authority or a central figure

An empire is a set of lands, regions or countries that are ruled by an Emperor. An empire usually also has many different cultures. In history, many empires were usually formed when a country began to invade or colonise nearby countries.

The Roman Empire in AD 116

Usually, an empire is ruled by one dominant country. For example, the British Empire was largely controlled by the United Kingdom's government.

Well-known empires include the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Arab Rashidun Caliphate, also known as the Rashidun Empire, the Arab Umayyad Caliphate, also known as the Umayyad Empire, the Russian Empire, the Greek Macedonian Empire, the Holy Roman Empire and the British Empire. The oldest empire was the Akkadian Empire, whose founder was Sargon of Akkad.

Empires that conquered much territory with speed included the Greek Macedonian Empire and the Arab Empire. According to Scottish historian James Buchan: "In speed and extent, the first Arab conquests were matched only by those of Alexander the Great, and they were more lasting."[1] The Aztec Empire and the Mongol Empire were land empires.

Sea empires grew mostly by sailing to distant places and conquering them. Mediterranean sea empires were the Phoenician states of Tyre, Sidon and Carthage; the Italian maritime republics of Venice and Genoa. Others were the Chola dynasty of Tamil Nadu in India; the Omani Empire of Arabia; and the Austronesian empires of Srivijaya and Majapahit in Maritime Southeast Asia.

Before Christopher Columbus, there were several empires in America including Vikings (who owned Greenland), the Aztec Empire, and the Inca Empire. The Spanish and the Portuguese were the first Europeans to discover America. Later came the English, later to be called the British Empire controlled most of North America, and the Spanish Empire controlled most of South America and Latin America.

Modern empires


The newest created empire was The Soviet Union created in 1922, which included Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.

Today, the only monarch to use the title "emperor" is the Emperor of Japan although his power is mostly ceremonial and the de facto head of government is the Prime Minister of Japan.