History books are filled with tales and stories of empires and emperors who have time and again attempted to try their hands at world domination. And surprisingly many of them were really close to achieving it. Well, of course, total world domination would be nothing less than a Utopian fantasy, that many emperors would have had for sure but we here would be defining world domination as per the number of subjects that the empire had, in proportion to the total population of the world at that time. The list took some intensive research and study as it was really difficult to determine the ranks that would be given to these empires. Everyone was fierce and strong in their own right. Hope you find it just.
The infamous Timurid Empire rose to power post the fall of the Mongolian Empire. The Mongolian Empire, as everyone knows, was a nomadic empire that came to prominence after the initial conquests of Genghis Khan. But the empire soon collapsed and thus began the rise of Tamerlane, the sole founder, and ruler of the Timurid Empire. The foundation of the whole empire was laid on the idea of the restoration of the fallen Mongol Empire and to bring it back to its glory days. The Timurids conquered Western Turkey, Iran, Mesopotamia, Central Asia, and India. The advantage of the Timurid Empire over the previous Mongol Empire was that they came to prominence in the mid-1400’s when the technology for proper communication between states and armies was available. Besides this, Tamerlane’s swift rise to power was also credited to his iconic armored horse archers. His conquests over both Arab and Indian armies put him on the global radar as one of the most fearsome rulers. But it was his intentions to defeat the Ming Dynasty of China that actually made him a contender for world domination. If he had defeated the Ming Dynasty, which he would have if he had made it to China alive, history today would have been different as the Chinese stronghold would have fallen in the hands of the Mongols. But unfortunately, Tamerlane or Timur, as he is often called in India, died on his way to China and the Chinese conquest of Tamerlane remained a dream.
The Spanish Empire makes it to the list as in point of time, it really came close to world domination. At its peak, the Spanish Empire had the most gold in the world, the best army, the best fleet of ships, and had governance over 13 percent of the world’s land mass. The Spanish Empire’s chance at world domination was even furthermore strengthened by their superior communications technology which gave them the upper hand over many other dynasties. This is very evident by the fact that all of their colonies remained under their rule for many centuries until finally the edge was lost after an array of continuous defeats on the battlefield. Also, the massive amounts of gold extracted from its colonies played a critical role in the fall of the Spanish Empire as it led to widespread inflation. The Spanish Empire reached its epitome under the rule of Charles V and Philip II of the House of Habsburg in Netherlands. Charles V was also the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. The empire had had provinces of the Netherlands, the Empire of Burgundy, The previously dismantled Portuguese Empire, The Holy Roman Empire, the Austrian Empire, Italy, Sicily, Latin America, and most of South America. The Empire, although chaotic and uncoordinated, had rule over a massive chunk of the world’s land masses. The Empire finally split up into two parts, the Spanish Empire and the Holy Roman Empire.
Coming in at number three is the Mongolian Empire. The Mongolian Empire was known for many things and kind and peaceful weren’t one of them. The Mongols rose to power in the 1200’s and at the time of their rise, there seemed to be no force on the planet that could overpower their war strategies and tactics. The Mongols were aggressive in their approach for conquest and undeniably ruthless. Some historians believe that Genghis Khan would have probably conquered Western Europe and beheaded the Pope. But by the time the Empire reached its peak in 1294, the Empire started to crumble. Their biggest weapon became their biggest foe. The empire was so huge that proper and organized communication was not possible. The technology at that time did not help much either. The Mongolian Empire fractured step by step and despite Genghis Khan’s stature as a ruler and warrior, the logistics for practicing authority over such a vast empire of 33 million square kilometer were simply not available in the year 1294. But this did not stop the Mongolian ruler to conquer over 22 percent of the world’s landmasses. But as we know, the Mongols did not succeed in their pursuit of world domination.
Soon after the death of the 3rd Khagan or the ‘Great Khan’, the disputes among different leaders in the Mongol Empire began taking place. The war between Berke Khan, the leader of the Golden Horde and Hulagu Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan and brother of the 4th Khagan was a major contributor. And that coincided with the Mongol civil war after the 4th Khagan died in China without announcing a successor. The Mongol Empire ultimately separated into 4 distinct dynasties which slowly faded away from the face of the Earth at different times.
The Ottoman Empire marks to be one of the greatest Islamic states to ever exist on this planet. It ruled over the Middle East, Turkey, North Africa, and the Balkans. The highlight of the Ottoman era of rule came after the destruction of the Byzantine Empire which marked the end of the once invincible Roman Empire. Their ability to hold on to such a large chunk of land mass with such a diverse populous was possible because of their talent of managing deep ethnic differences in the Middle East and the Balkans which were very tensed regions at that time. Well, it still is, for that matter. Regardless, the Ottoman Empire was so powerful and ready for world domination that they even got really close to it. They almost conquered Vienna, a city deep in the heart of Europe and in the present day Austria, during the second siege of the European city. Vienna almost fell to the Ottoman rule but was saved as a last ditch effort by a Polish and Hungarian relief forces that saved it from getting sacked. The loss in Vienna was crucial as that victory could have opened the gates for a further venture into Europe and as I already mentioned, the Ottomans were really good at managing a multi-cultured population. But despite all this, they just managed to conquer a little less than 3.5 percent of the world’s land masses.
The list is not over yet. Stay tuned for the 2nd and final part of the list.
If you have some more precious time to spare, we would like to know which particular thing helped you the most in this article. Whatever be it- a step, a tip or a paragraph, kindly mention it in the below-section.