We were surprised that the Roman Empire, which at its height controlled more than 5.9 million km², didn't make the top ten. But perhaps that's just our Western bias showing through.
Obviously, the data used to construct this graph is open to interpretation, as most empires were ill-defined, which makes calculating their exact size an impossible task. Differing definitions also pose a problem. What exactly is an empire? Should independent allies and tribute states be considered part of an empire? The Mongol Empire technically controlled vast swaths of Siberia, but many of the tribes in region remained autonomous. Should this large sparsely populated area be considered part of the Mongol Empire? Ultimately, this graph is merely guide. If were to use a different set of definitions, then the rankings would probably be different.
A full ranking of the World's largest empires can be found here. The data set on this page is also what we used to construct this map.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
By Stephen M.