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States can be empires either by narrow definition through having an emperor and being named as such, or by broad definition as stated above being an aggregated realm under a supreme authority.

An empire can be made solely of contiguous territories, such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Russian Empire , or of territories far remote from the homeland, such as a colonial empire.

Aside from the more formal usage, the word empire can also refer colloquially to a large-scale business enterprise e.

Empire is often used to describe a displeasure to overpowering situations. There are two main ways to establish and maintain an imperial political structure : i as a territorial empire of direct conquest and control with force or ii as a coercive, hegemonic empire of indirect conquest and control with power.

The former method provides greater tribute and direct political control, yet limits further expansion because it absorbs military forces to fixed garrisons.

The latter method provides less tribute and indirect control, but avails military forces for further expansion. The term, on occasion, has been applied to maritime republics or thalassocracies e.

Empires like the Holy Roman Empire can also come together by electing the emperor with votes from member realms.

An empire is a aggregate of many separate states or territories under a supreme ruler or oligarchy. An empire is a large polity which rules over territories outside of its original borders.

Definitions of what physically and politically constitute an empire vary. It might be a state affecting imperial policies or a particular political structure.

Empires are typically formed from diverse ethnic, national, cultural, and religious components. Doyle has defined empire as "effective control, whether formal or informal, of a subordinated society by an imperial society".

Tom Nairn and Paul James define empires as polities that "extend relations of power across territorial spaces over which they have no prior or given legal sovereignty, and where, in one or more of the domains of economics, politics, and culture, they gain some measure of extensive hegemony over those spaces for the purpose of extracting or accruing value".

The terrestrial empire's maritime analogue is the thalassocracy , an empire composed of islands and coasts which are accessible to its terrestrial homeland, such as the Athenian-dominated Delian League.

Furthermore, empires can expand by both land and sea. Stephen Howe notes that empires by land can be characterized by expansion over terrain, "extending directly outwards from the original frontier" [10] while an empire by sea can be characterized by colonial expansion and empire building "by an increasingly powerful navy".

However, sometimes an empire is only a semantic construction, such as when a ruler assumes the title of "emperor". Examples of this form of empire are the Central African Empire , or the Korean Empire proclaimed in when Korea, far from gaining new territory, was on the verge of being annexed by the Empire of Japan , one of the last to use the name officially.

Additionally an empire can be also seen in realms like heaven or the ocean. Empires originated as different types of states, although they commonly began as powerful monarchies.

Ideas about empires have changed over time, ranging from public approval to universal distaste. Empires are built out of separate units with some kind of diversity — ethnic, national, cultural, religious — and imply at least some inequality between the rulers and the ruled.

Without this inequality, the system would be seen as a commonwealth. Throughout history, the major powers of the world constantly seek to conquer other parts of the world.

Imperialism is the idea of a major power controlling another nation or land with the intentions to use the native people and resources to help the mother country in any way possible.

Many empires were the result of military conquest, incorporating the vanquished states into a political union, but imperial hegemony can be established in other ways.

The Empire of Brazil declared itself an empire after separating from the Portuguese Empire in France has twice transitioned from being called the French Republic to being called the French Empire while it retained an overseas empire.

Europeans began applying the designation of "empire" to non-European monarchies, such as the Qing Empire and the Mughal Empire , as well as the Maratha Empire , eventually leading to the looser denotations applicable to any political structure meeting the criteria of "imperium".

Some monarchies styled themselves as having greater size, scope, and power than the territorial, politico-military, and economic facts support.

As a consequence, some monarchs assumed the title of "emperor" or its corresponding translation, tsar , empereur , kaiser , shah etc.

Empires were seen as an expanding power, administration, ideas and beliefs followed by cultural habits from place to place. Empires tend to impose their culture on the subject states to strengthen the imperial structure.

This can have notable effects that outlast the empire itself, both positive and negative. Most histories of empires have been hostile, especially if the authors were promoting nationalism.

Stephen Howe, although himself hostile, listed positive qualities: the guaranteed stability, security, and legal order for their subjects.

They tried to minimize ethnic and religious antagonism inside the empire. The aristocracies that ruled them were often more cosmopolitan and broad-minded than their nationalistic successors.

For comprehensive historical coverage see Peter Stearns, ed. Achaemenid Empire of Persia at its zenith. Maurya Empire of India at its greatest extent under Ashoka the Great.

The earliest known empire appeared in southern Egypt sometime around BC. Southern Egypt was divided by three kingdoms each centered on a powerful city.

Hierapolis conquered the other two cities over two centuries, and later grew into the country of Egypt.

This imperial achievement was repeated by Hammurabi of Babylon in the 17th century BC. Both surpassed in territory their contemporary Near Eastern empires.

The Zhou Empire dissolved in BC into feudal multi-state system which lasted for five and a half centuries until the universal conquest of Qin in BC.

The Median Empire was the first empire within the territory of Persia. By the 6th century BC, after having allied with the Babylonians to defeat the Neo-Assyrian Empire , the Medes were able to establish their own empire, which was the largest of its day and lasted for about sixty years.

The Roman Empire under Trajan 98— This would be the peak of the empire's territorial extent. Han Empire of China in 2 AD. It is considered the first great empire in history or the first "world empire".

His Empire was succeeded by three Empires ruled by the Diadochi —the Seleucid , Ptolemaic , and Macedonian , which, despite being independent, are called the " Hellenistic Empire" by virtue of their similarities in culture and administration.

Meanwhile, in the western Mediterranean the Empires of Carthage and Rome began their rise. The Seleucid Empire broke apart and its former eastern part was absorbed by the Parthian Empire.

In India during the Axial Age appeared the Maurya Empire —a geographically extensive and powerful empire, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty from to BC.

The empire was founded in BC by Chandragupta Maurya through the help of Chanakya , [22] who rapidly expanded his power westward across central and western India, taking advantage of the disruptions of local powers following the withdrawal by Alexander the Great.

By BC, the Maurya Empire had fully occupied northwestern India as well as defeating and conquering the satraps left by Alexander.

In the reign of Asoka Buddhism spread to become the dominant religion in many parts of the ancient India. The Qin Empire is known for the construction of the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Army , as well as the standardization of currency, weights, measures and writing system.

Confucianism was, for the first time, adopted as an official state ideology. During the reign of the Emperor Wu of Han , the Xiongnu were pacified.

The Romans were the first people to invent and embody the concept of empire in their two mandates: to wage war and to make and execute laws.

Many languages, cultural values, religious institutions, political divisions, urban centers, and legal systems can trace their origins to the Roman Empire.

The Roman Empire governed and rested on exploitative actions. They took slaves and money from the peripheries to support the imperial center.

This term was legitimized and justified by writers like Cicero who wrote that only under Roman rule could the world flourish and prosper.

People started to build houses like Romans, eat the same food, wear the same clothes and engage in the same games.

The Latin word imperium , referring to a magistrate's power to command, gradually assumed the meaning "The territory in which a magistrate can effectively enforce his commands", while the term " imperator " was originally an honorific meaning "commander".

The title was given to generals who were victorious in battle. Thus, an "empire" may include regions that are not legally within the territory of a state, but are under either direct or indirect control of that state, such as a colony , client state , or protectorate.

Although historians use the terms "Republican Period" and "Imperial Period" to identify the periods of Roman history before and after absolute power was assumed by Augustus , the Romans themselves continued to refer to their government as a republic, and during the Republican Period, the territories controlled by the republic were referred to as " Imperium Romanum ".

The emperor's actual legal power derived from holding the office of "consul", but he was traditionally honored with the titles of imperator commander and princeps first man or, chief.

Later, these terms came to have legal significance in their own right; an army calling their general " imperator " was a direct challenge to the authority of the current emperor.

The legal systems of France and its former colonies are strongly influenced by Roman law. The president, as "commander-in-chief" of the armed forces, reflects the ancient Roman titles imperator princeps.

In Western Asia , the term " Persian Empire " came to denote the Iranian imperial states established at different historical periods of pre— Islamic and post—Islamic Persia.

In East Asia , various Chinese empires dominated the political, economic and cultural landscapes during this era, the most powerful of which was probably the Tang Empire —, — During this period, Japan and Korea underwent voluntary Sinicization.

The 7th century saw the emergence of the Islamic Empire , also referred to as the Islamic Caliphate. By the beginning of the 8th century, the Umayyad Caliphate had become the largest empire in history, it would not be surpassed in size until the establishment of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century.

In the Caliphate clashed with the Tang China at Talas. By this time only these two Empires stretched between the Atlantic and the Pacific.

From the 11th century Moroccan empires began to appear, starting with the Almoravid Empire , dominating territories in both Europe as well as Sub-Saharan Africa.

The territory directly held by the Tang Empire of China and its sphere of influence. The expansion of the Rashidun Empire.

Ajuran Sultanate in the 15th century. The Ajuran Sultanate was a Somali empire in the medieval times that dominated the Indian Ocean trade.

They belonged to the Somali Muslim sultanate [36] [37] [38] that ruled over large parts of the Horn of Africa in the Middle Ages. Through a strong centralized administration and an aggressive military stance towards invaders, the Ajuran Sultanate successfully resisted an Oromo invasion from the west and a Portuguese incursion from the east during the Gaal Madow and the Ajuran-Portuguese wars.

Trading routes dating from the ancient and early medieval periods of Somali maritime enterprise were strengthened or re-established, and foreign trade and commerce in the coastal provinces flourished with ships sailing to and coming from many kingdoms and empires in East Asia , South Asia , Southeast Asia , Europe , Middle East , North Africa and East Africa.

In the 7th century, Maritime Southeast Asia witnessed the rise of a Buddhist thallasocracy, the Srivijaya Empire , which thrived for years and was succeeded by the Hindu-Buddhist Majapahit Empire that ruled from the 13th to 15th centuries.

In the Southeast Asian mainland, the Hindu-Buddhist Khmer Empire was centered in the city of Angkor and flourished from the 9th to 13th centuries.

Following the demise of the Khmer Empire, the Siamese Empire flourished alongside the Burmese and Lan Chang Empires from the 13th through the 18th centuries.

In Eastern Europe, during the year of , the Byzantine Empire was forced to recognize the Imperial title of Bulgarian rulers who were called Tsars.

The Bulgarian Empire remained a major power in the Balkans until its fall in the late 14th century. At the time, in the Medieval West , the title "empire" had a specific technical meaning that was exclusively applied to states that considered themselves the heirs and successors of the Roman Empire.

Yet, these states did not always fit the geographic, political, or military profiles of empires in the modern sense of the word. To legitimise their imperium , these states directly claimed the title of Empire from Rome.

The sacrum Romanum imperium Holy Roman Empire , which lasted from to , claimed to have exclusively comprehended Christian principalities, and was only nominally a discrete imperial state.

The Holy Roman Empire was not always centrally-governed, as it had neither core nor peripheral territories, and was not governed by a central, politico-military elite.

Voltaire's "nor an empire" observation applies to its late period. In , after the Fourth Crusade conquered Constantinople , the crusaders established a Latin Empire — in that city, while the defeated Byzantine Empire's descendants established two smaller, short-lived empires in Asia Minor : the Empire of Nicaea — and the Empire of Trebizond — Constantinople was retaken in by the Byzantine successor state centered in Nicaea , re-establishing the Byzantine Empire until , by which time the Turkish - Muslim Ottoman Empire ca.

The Ottoman Empire was a successor of the Abbasid Empire and it was the most powerful empire to succeed the Abbasi empires at the time, as well as one of the most powerful empires in the world.

Likewise, with the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire in during the Napoleonic Wars — , the Austrian Empire — emerged reconstituted as the Empire of Austria—Hungary — , having "inherited" the imperium of Central and Western Europe from the losers of said wars.

In the thirteenth century, Genghis Khan expanded the Mongol Empire to be the largest contiguous empire in the world.

However, within two generations, the empire was separated into four discrete khanates under Genghis Khan's grandsons. One of them, Kublai Khan , conquered China and established the Yuan dynasty with the imperial capital at Beijing.

The emergence of the Pax Mongolica had significantly eased trade and commerce across Asia. The Safavid Empire of Iran was also founded. The Age of the Islamic Gunpowders started to develop from the 15th century.

In the Indian subcontinent , the Delhi Sultanate conquered most of the Indian peninsula and spread Islam across it. It later got broken with the establishment of the Bengal Sultanate.

After the death of Aurangzeb, which marks the end of the medieval India and the beginning of European invasion in India, the empire was weakened by Nader Shah 's invasion.

Both existed for several generations before the arrival of the Europeans. Inca had gradually conquered the whole of the settled Andean world as far south as today Santiago in Chile.

In the 15th century, Castile Spain landing in the so-called " New World " first, the Americas, and later Australia , along with Portuguese travels around the Cape of Good Hope and along the coast of Africa bordering the southeast Indian Ocean, proved ripe opportunities for the continent's Renaissance -era monarchies to establish colonial empires like those of the ancient Romans and Greeks.

In the Old World, colonial imperialism was attempted and established on the Canary Islands and Ireland. These conquered lands and people became de jure subordinates of the empire, rather than de facto imperial territories and subjects.

Such subjugation often elicited "client-state" resentment that the empire unwisely ignored, leading to the collapse of the European colonial imperial system in the late 19th through the midth century.

In the 18th century, the Spanish Empire was at its height because of the great mass of goods taken from conquered territory in the Americas nowadays Mexico , parts of the United States , the Caribbean , most of Central America, and South America and the Philippines.

Red shows self-governing North American British colonies and pink shows claimed and largely indirectly controlled territories in The Ottoman Empire at its greatest extent.

The map includes all Spanish territories, but only territories Portugal had during the Iberian Union.

The Russian Empire in became the second largest contiguous empire to have ever existed. The Russian Federation is currently the largest state on the planet.

In , the British Empire was the largest empire in history. The evolution of the French Empire in the 18th to the 20th century. The 19th to 20th century Japanese Empire at its maximum extent, The territory ruled by the Great Qing Empire of China in The British established their first empire — in North America by colonising lands that made up British America , including parts of Canada , the Caribbean and the Thirteen Colonies.

In , the Continental Congress of the Thirteen Colonies declared itself independent from the British Empire, thus beginning the American Revolution.

Britain turned towards Asia, the Pacific, and later Africa, with subsequent exploration leading to the rise of the Second British Empire — , which was followed by the Industrial Revolution and Britain's Imperial Century — It became the largest empire in world history, encompassing one quarter of the world's land area and one fifth of its population.

The Great Qing Empire of China — was the fifth largest empire in world history by total land area, and laid the foundation for the modern territorial claims of both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China.

Apart from having direct control over much of East Asia, the empire also exerted domination over other states through the Chinese tributary system.

The multiethnic and multicultural nature of the Great Qing Empire was crucial to the subsequent birth of the nationalistic concept of zhonghua minzu.

The empire reached its peak during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor , after which the empire entered a period of prolonged decline, culminating in its collapse as a result of the Xinhai Revolution.

The Ashanti or Asante were a powerful, militaristic and highly disciplined people in West Africa. Their military power, which came from effective strategy and an early adoption of European firearms , created an empire that stretched from central Akanland in modern-day Ghana to present day Benin and Ivory Coast , bordered by the Dagomba kingdom to the north and Dahomey to the east.

Due to the empire's military prowess, sophisticated hierarchy, social stratification and culture, the Ashanti empire had one of the largest historiographies of any indigenous Sub-Saharan African political entity.

The Sikh Empire — was established in the Punjab region of India. The empire collapsed when its founder, Ranjit Singh, died and its army fell to the British.

During the same period, the Maratha Empire also known as the Maratha Confederacy was a Hindu state located in present-day India. It existed from to , and at its peak, the empire's territories covered much of Southern Asia.

The empire was founded and consolidated by Shivaji. After the death of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, it expanded greatly under the rule of the Peshwas.

In , the Maratha army lost the Third Battle of Panipat, which halted the expansion of the empire. Later, the empire was divided into a confederacy of states which, in , were lost to the British during the Anglo-Maratha wars.

The French colonial empire constituted the overseas colonies, protectorates and mandate territories that came under French rule from the 16th century onward.

A distinction is generally made between the "first colonial empire," that existed until , and the "second colonial empire", which began with the conquest of Algiers in The second colonial empire came to an end after the decolonizations of Indochina , Algeria and French Africa.

At its apex, it was one of the largest empires in history; including metropolitan France, the total amount of land under French sovereignty reached 11,, km2 4,, sq mi , with a population of million people in The Empire of Brazil — was the only South American modern monarchy, established by the heir of the Portuguese Empire as an independent nation eventually became an emerging international power.

The new country was huge but sparsely populated and ethnically diverse. The term " American Empire " refers to the United States' cultural ideologies and foreign policy strategies.

The term is most commonly used to describe the U. Despite these systematic differences, the political objectives and strategies of the United States government have been quite similar to those of previous empires.

Regardless of the supposed motivation for this constant expansion, all of these land acquisitions were carried out by imperialistic means. This was done by financial means in some cases, and by military force in others.

The U. However, some scholars still consider U. In time, an empire may change from one political entity to another. For example, the Holy Roman Empire, a German re-constitution of the Roman Empire , metamorphosed into various political structures i.

The Roman Empire, perennially reborn, also lived on as the Byzantine Empire Eastern Roman Empire — temporarily splitting into the Latin Empire , the Empire of Nicaea and the Empire of Trebizond before its remaining territory and centre became part of the Ottoman Empire.

After the Empire of Japan retained its Emperor but lost its colonial possessions and became the State of Japan. An autocratic empire can become a republic e.

The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after provides an example of a multi-ethnic superstate broken into constituent nation-oriented states: the republics, kingdoms, and provinces of Austria , Hungary , Transylvania , Croatia , Slovenia , Bosnia and Herzegovina , Czechoslovakia , Ruthenia , Galicia , et al.

After the Second World War — , the deconstruction of colonial empires quickened and became commonly known as decolonisation.

The British Empire evolved into a loose, multinational Commonwealth of Nations , while the French colonial empire metamorphosed to a Francophone commonwealth.

The same process happened to the Portuguese Empire , which evolved into a Lusophone commonwealth , and to the former territories of the extinct Spanish Empire , which alongside the Lusophone countries of Portugal and Brazil , created an Ibero-American commowealth.

The British gave Hong Kong back to China in after years of rule. The Portuguese territory of Macau reverted to China in Macau and Hong Kong did not become part of the provincial structure of China; they have autonomous systems of government as Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China.

Fourteen British Overseas Territories remain under British sovereignty. In Eliot A. Cohen summarized the contemporary transition from empire: "The Age of Empire may indeed have ended, but then an age of American hegemony has begun, regardless of what one calls it.

The fall of the western half of the Roman Empire is seen as one of the most pivotal points in all of human history. This event traditionally marks the transition from classical civilization to the birth of Europe.

There is still a debate over the cause of the fall of one of the largest empires in history. Piganiol argues that the Roman Empire under its authority can be described as "a period of terror", [73] holding its imperial system accountable for its failure.

Another theory blames the rise of Christianity as the cause, arguing that the spread of certain Christian ideals caused internal weakness of the military and state.

There was also the looming presence of the Persians which, at any time, took a large percentage of the fighting force's attention. At the same time the Huns, a nomadic warrior people from the steppes of Asia, are also putting extreme pressure on the German tribes outside of the Roman frontier, which gave the German tribes no other choice, geographically, but to move into Roman territory.

At this point, without increased funding, the Roman army could no longer effectively defend its borders against major waves of Germanic tribes.

This inability is illustrated by the crushing defeat at Adrianople in C. Contemporaneously, the concept of empire is politically valid, yet is not always used in the traditional sense.

For example, Japan is considered the world's sole remaining empire because of the continued presence of the Japanese Emperor in national politics.

Despite the semantic reference to imperial power, Japan is a de jure constitutional monarchy , with a homogeneous population of million people that is Characterising some aspects of the United States in regards to its territorial expansion , foreign policy, and its international behaviour as " American Empire " is controversial but not uncommon.

This characterisation is controversial because of the strong tendency in American society to reject claims of American imperialism. The initial motivations for the inception of the United States eventually led to the development of this tendency, which has been perpetuated by the country-wide obsession with this national narrative.

The United States was formed because colonists did not like being under control of the British Empire. Essentially, the United States was formed in an attempt to reject imperialism.

This makes it very hard for people to acknowledge America's status as an empire. This active rejection of imperialist status is not limited to high-ranking government officials, as it has been ingrained in American society throughout its entire history.

As David Ludden explains, "journalists, scholars, teachers, students, analysts, and politicians prefer to depict the U.

Ludden explains this phenomenon with the concept of "ideological blinders", which he says prevent American citizens from realizing the true nature of America's current systems and strategies.

These "ideological blinders" that people wear have resulted in an "invisible" American empire of which most American citizens are unaware.

Stuart Creighton Miller posits that the public's sense of innocence about Realpolitik cf. American exceptionalism impairs popular recognition of US imperial conduct since it governed other countries via surrogates.

These surrogates were domestically-weak, right-wing governments that would collapse without US support. We're not imperialistic; we never have been.

Since the European Union was formed as a polity in , it has established its own currency, its own citizenship , established discrete military forces , and exercises its limited hegemony in the Mediterranean, eastern parts of Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia.

The big size and high development index of the EU economy often has the ability to influence global trade regulations in its favour. The political scientist Jan Zielonka suggests that this behaviour is imperial because it coerces its neighbouring countries into adopting its European economic, legal, and political structures.

In his book review of Empire by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri , Mehmet Akif Okur posits that since the 11 September terrorist attacks in the US, the international relations determining the world's balance of power political, economic, military have been altered.

These alterations include the intellectual political science trends that perceive the contemporary world's order via the re-territorrialisation of political space , the re-emergence of classical imperialist practices the "inside" vs.

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.

Nation-empire regionalism claims sovereignty over their respective regional political social, economic, ideologic , cultural, and military spheres.

The chart below shows a timeline of polities that have been called empires. Dynastic changes are marked with a white line. Sir John determined that each followed a remarkably similar pattern from birth to demise.

Spanning a period of about ten generations, each went through 7 Stages of Empire: [92]. Glubb noted the in all these example, the penultimate age was marked by defensiveness, pessimism, materialism, frivolity, an influx of foreigners, the Welfare State, and a weakening of religion.

He attribute this decadence to an excessively long a period of wealth and power, selfishness, love of money, and the loss of a sense of duty.

Mike Maloney , an economist, arrived at exactly the same conclusion but in Economic terms whilst studying the history of money.

His 7 stages were: [93]. Empires have been the dominant international organization in world history :. The fact that tribes, peoples, and nations have made empires points to a fundamental political dynamic, one that helps explain why empires cannot be confined to a particular place or era but emerged and reemerged over thousands of years and on all continents.

It is the nation-state—an essentially 19th-century ideal—that is the historical novelty and that may yet prove to be the more ephemeral entity.

In fact, it is a very distorted view of even the Westphalian era not to recognize that it was always at least as much about empires as it was states.

Almost all of the emerging European states no sooner began to consolidate than they were off on campaigns of conquest and commerce to the farthest reaches of the globe… Ironically, it was the European empires that carried the idea of the sovereign territorial state to the rest of the world Empire has been the historically predominant form of order in world politics.

Looking at a time frame of several millennia, there was no global anarchic system until the European explorations and subsequent imperial and colonial ventures connected disparate regional systems, doing so approximately years ago.

Prior to this emergence of a global-scope system, the pattern of world politics was characterized by regional systems. These regional systems were initially anarchic and marked by high levels of military competition.

But almost universally, they tended to consolidate into regional empires Thus it was empires—not anarchic state systems—that typically dominated the regional systems in all parts of the world Within this global pattern of regional empires, European political order was distinctly anomalous because it persisted so long as an anarchy.

Similarly, Anthony Pagden , Eliot A. Cohen , Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper estimate that "empires have always been more frequent, more extensive political and social forms than tribal territories or nations have ever been".

Empires have played a long and critical part in human history Rome was evoked as a model of splendor and order into the Twentieth century and beyond… By comparison, the nation-state appears as a blip on the historical horizon, a state form that emerged recently from under imperial skies and whose hold on the world's political imagination may well prove partial or transitory… The endurance of empire challenges the notion that the nation-state is natural, necessary, and inevitable Political scientist Hedley Bull wrote that "in the broad sweep of human history The history of interstate relations was largely that of successive great empires.

The pattern of international political change during the millennia of the pre-modern era has been described as an imperial cycle World politics was characterized by the rise and decline of powerful empires, each of which in turn unified and ordered its respective international system.

The recurrent pattern in every civilization of which we have knowledge was for one state to unify the system under its imperial domination.

The propensity toward universal empire was the principal feature of pre-modern politics. Historian Michael Doyle who undertook an extensive research on empires extended the observation into the modern era:.

Empires have been the key actors in world politics for millennia. They helped create the interdependent civilizations of all the continents Imperial control stretches through history, many say, to the present day.

Empires are as old as history itself They have held the leading role ever since. Expert on warfare Quincy Wright generalized on what he called "universal empire"—empire unifying all the contemporary system:.

Balance of power systems have in the past tended, through the process of conquest of lesser states by greater states, towards reduction in the number of states involved, and towards less frequent but more devastating wars, until eventually a universal empire has been established through the conquest by one of all those remaining.

German Sociologist Friedrich Tenbruck finds that the macro-historic process of imperial expansion gave rise to global history in which the formations of universal empires were most significant stages.

The overall conclusion was that the balance of power was inherently unstable order and usually soon broke in favor of imperial order.

When this [imperial] pattern of political history is found in the New World as well as in the Old World, it looks as if the pattern must be intrinsic to the political history of societies of the species we call civilizations, in whatever part of the world the specimens of this species occur.

If this conclusion is warranted, it illuminates our understanding of civilization itself. Most states systems have ended in universal empire, which has swallowed all the states of the system.

The examples are so abundant that we must ask two questions: Is there any states system which has not led fairly directly to the establishment of a world empire?

Does the evidence rather suggest that we should expect any states system to culminate in this way? It might be argued that every state system can only maintain its existence on the balance of power , that the latter is inherently unstable, and that sooner or later its tensions and conflicts will be resolved into a monopoly of power.

The earliest thinker to approach the phenomenon of universal empire from a theoretical point of view was Polybius :. In previous times events in the world occurred without impinging on one another Fichte , having witnessed the battle at Jena in when Napoleon overwhelmed Prussia, described what he perceived as a deep historical trend:.

There is necessary tendency in every cultivated State to extend itself generally Such is the case in Ancient History As the States become stronger in themselves and cast off that [Papal] foreign power, the tendency towards a Universal Monarchy over the whole Christian World necessarily comes to light This tendency Whether clearly or not—it may be obscurely—yet has this tendency lain at the root of the undertakings of many States in Modern Times Although no individual Epoch may have contemplated this purpose, yet is this the spirit which runs through all these individual Epochs, and invisibly urges them onward.

Fichte's later compatriot, Geographer Alexander von Humboldt — , in the mid-Nineteenth century observed a macro-historic trend of imperial growth in both Hemispheres: "Men of great and strong minds, as well as whole nations, acted under influence of one idea, the purity of which was utterly unknown to them.

Friedrich Ratzel , writing at the same time, observed that the "drive toward the building of continually larger states continues throughout the entirety of history" and is active in the present.

His seventh law stated: "The general trend toward amalgamation transmits the tendency of territorial growth from state to state and increases the tendency in the process of transmission.

Two other contemporaries— Kang Yu-wei and George Vacher de Lapouge —stressed that imperial expansion cannot indefinitely proceed on the definite surface of the globe and therefore world empire is imminent.

Kang Yu-wei in believed that the imperial trend will culminate in the contest between Washington and Berlin [] and Vacher de Lapouge in estimated that the final contest will be between Russia and America in which America is likely to triumph.

This undoubtedly is the logical final stage in the geopolitical theory of evolution. The world is no longer large enough to harbor several self-contained powers Available on mobile.

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