In my previous article, Do You Know These Empires Came Closest To Conquering The World?- Part I, I talked about empires like the Timurid Empire, the Mongol Empire, and the Spanish Empire and how they got really close to conquering the world. Welcome to the Part II of the series where I’ll be telling you about the empires that took a step further and were virtually at the doorstep of world domination. It will be surely an interesting read. So fasten your seatbelts!
Probably the largest in the history of the world. We all know that the British Empire practiced the policy of colonialism and stuck closely to their heritage of imperialism. And it wasn’t long before the empire started to adopt the capitalist approach. Before anyone knew, the British Empire was already controlling more than 22 percent of the world’s land masses and approximately 20 percent of the world’s populous. Now, to be honest, that is a huge number, especially in an era where every Western European country had its colonies all over the world. But the reason the Great British Empire experienced so much success in conquering countries and colonizing them was that it was strategically much sounder than its European counterparts. It had the world’s strongest military, world’s largest Navy (at that time), and its absolute control over the silk trade routes. The thing that is more interesting than Britain’s mind blowing authority over such a huge portion of the world, is the very fact that it could manage to colonize so many countries after the devastating Great War or the First World War when it got virtually bankrupt. Regardless, the British Empire is one of the few empires of the world that came really close to conquering the world.
The Roman Empire that we know from history came a lot closer to actual world domination than most people would think. As a matter of fact at the peak of their domination, they ruled in Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia. At this time they controlled more than 21 percent of the world’s entire population. They were one of the most disciplined and well-equipped armies in the world but it was their campaigns against the Parthian Empire.
The Parthian Empire, often referred to as the Arsacid Empire, was an ancient Iranian political power that started in around 247 BC. The Parthians were the big players when it came to ancient cultural and religious powers. They formed a big impact on the global map of that time. The Romans could never completely conquer the Parthian Empire but their battles and wars did manage to make it to the history books.
The Roman Empire has a very big history behind its origin. It all started when the Roman Republic fell due to a series of civil wars instigated after the assassination of Julius Caesar. According to historians and well-documented evidence, Julius Caesar sought to take over the military prowess of the Roman Republic after the Gallic wars were won where he acted as the proconsul (the deputy in place of the actual consul or the head of the state.) So, when Julian Caesar decided to take over as the dictator of Rome, panic struck and this led to a civil war. Apparently, civil wars were a common thing back in 49 BCE. Julius Caesar assumed the role of ‘Dictator for life’ but was finally assassinated in 44 BCE. His adopted son, Octavius along with Caesar’s trusted, Marc Antony, started a sort of a rebellion to kill the perpetrators who killed Caesar in the battle of Philippi. After their victory, they divided the Roman Republic into three parts. The alliance failed and Octavius went on a war against Marc Antony who had joined forces with Queen Cleopatra of Ptolemaic Egypt. This was called the Battle of Actium. The battle was won by Octavius’ fleet. Octavius renamed himself as Augustus and this marked the end of the Roman senate and the rise of the Roman Empire.
The Achaemenid Empire, also referred to as the first prominent Persian Empire, was established in the year 550 BCE. It was created by Cyrus the Great. It was probably the largest empire the world has ever seen. At its peak, the empire had about 44.50 percent of the world’s population under its rule. Which means at around 480 BCE, 1 out of every 2 people were subjects to Achaemenid rule. The Persians could, however, have outreached this number if they did not go to unnecessary wars with Greek city states. The wars cost them time as well as wealth. And after the Rise of Macedon, and the early conquests of King Philippi II and his successor, Alexander III the Great, the fall of the Achaemenid Empire was inevitable. After the dismantling of the Achaemenid state, there was never an empire that was this big and close to world domination. The Achaemenid Empire fell in the year 330 BC and the remaining states got divided. The Seleucid Empire rose from its ashes. But that story is for another day.
Now, many of you might not agree with me when I say that Nazi Germany was an empire but trust me when I say that technically Nazi Germany was an empire. It was called the ‘Third Reich’ which mean the third empire. There you go.
Historians believe that Nazi Germany would have had their victory in the Second World War had they made a few different decisions. Decisions such as not going all out on England, premature attack on Russia, and underestimating the United States of America were a few of the many lethal mistakes made by Hitler. Other factors like the failure in the Africa campaigns and the failure of ‘Operation Sea Lion’ were also major contributors to Germany’s defeat.
For those who do not know, Hitler’s rise to power was nothing short of a Hollywood movie. You can find more about it here.
Had Germany made the right decisions, the world we live in today would be totally different world altogether. India, the Middle East, and the entire African continent along the defeated Europe would have been under Nazi German control. This means that Hitler would have controlled almost half of the world’s population.
Besides that, what Hitler did with Nazi Germany was way more significant than anyone could guess. He literally put the modern day European Union to shame by bringing together a once in a lifetime alliance between countries which would never choose to join hands if such a situation was to arise today. Countries like Romania and Hungary fought alongside each other, German were aiding Italians, and other alliances like the Slovakians, Fins, Croatians, and Bulgarians. The extent to European unity and nationalism was never seen before and is still a missing element in modern day Europe. If things would have gone differently, Nazi Germany would have been well on its way to world domination.
Now, Nazi Germany was nowhere close to the area and people conquered by other empires like the Roman Empire or the Achaemenid Empire but it was surely way more powerful than them and the chances of them conquering the world were way more likely than others with the same agenda due to their superiority in technology, weaponry, war strategy, and sheer will. The rise of Nazi Germany can simply be defined as ‘a man’s dream to bring Germany back to the greatness it once possessed’.
Do let us know if you feel any different or if we missed any major empires that ruled the world. If you found this article helpful in any way, do like and share it with other!
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