Modern empires

Modern empires

Numerous legendary empires were built (and destroyed) in the course of history.



Inca Empire, Aztec Empire, Spain, Ottoman Empire, Russia, British Empire, Huayna Capac, Cuzco, Tenochtitlan, modern history, empire, Madrid, Constantinople, Saint Petersburg, London, Suleiman I, Nicholas II, Victoria, country, countries, border, history, conquest, colony, colonisation, coloniser, capital city, great power, map, map knowledge, blank map, Earth globe

Related items


Modern empires

From a political point of view, an empire is a state of great territorial extent that includes numerous ethnic groups and countries. Usually, empires are culturally and ethnically diverse.

Most legendary empires in history were established through conquests (that is, via the use of military force) or economic and political coercion. A common feature of these empires was that all of them were governed by a strong central power.

Inca Empire (16th c.)

  • Cuzco - It was the administrative, political, military and religious centre of the Inca Empire. Spanish Conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro captured it in 1533.
  • Quito
  • Cajamarca
  • Machu Picchu
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Andes

In the 14th century, the South American state of the Inca tribal confederation was only a small city state that included Cuzco and its vicinity. After the Inca conquests in the 15th century, its area increased enormously: it measured about 4,000 km from north to south and about 800 km from east to west. The Inca Empire, the largest empire of the Pre-Columbian Americas, reached its greatest territorial extent at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, during the reign of Huayna Capac.

After the death of Huayna Capac, a war that broke out between his successors, together with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, led by Francisco Pizarro, resulted in the fall of the empire.

Aztec Empire (16th c.)

  • Tenochtitlan - The city was built on an island in Lake Texcoco and was the capital of the Aztec Empire. Spanish Conquistadors led by Hernán Cortés captured it in 1521.
  • Cihuatlan
  • Tetzapotitlan
  • Cuetlaxtlan
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Lake Texcoco

After the Aztecs had conquered the Toltec, they migrated to the Valley of Mexico, and in the 14th century Tenochtitlan became their capital. The hegemonic military confederation expanded steadily thanks to conquests.

Three city-states (Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, Tlacopan) entered into alliance in 1428, establishing the Aztec Empire. The empire, which stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, reached its greatest territorial extent at the beginning of 16th century, during the reign of Moctezuma II. In 1519, Spanish conquistadors, led by Hernán Cortés, destroyed the empire along with its capital.

Spanish Empire (16th c.)

  • Madrid - It became the centre of the Spanish Empire when Philip II moved his court here. It became the capital in 1606.
  • Manila
  • Havana
  • Tenochtitlan
  • Quíto
  • Lima
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Indian Ocean

Spain was united at the end of the 15th century by Ferdinand II of Aragon and his wife, Isabella I of Castile. The Spanish conquered large territories overseas, competing with Portugal. The resulting empire was the first truly global empire in history. Its heyday was during the 16th and 17th centuries, under the rule of the Spanish Habsburgs. The well-known phrase, "the empire on which the Sun never sets" originally referred to the Spanish Empire.

The empire that reached its peak during the reign of Charles I (known as Charles V, as Holy Roman Emperor) started to decline for economic and political reasons.

Ottoman Empire (17th c.)

  • Constantinople - The city was established in 330 by Constantine the Great. Originally it was the capital of the Byzantine Empire and then of the Ottoman Empire.
  • Bursa
  • Baghdad
  • Jerusalem
  • Damascus
  • Tripoli
  • Tunis
  • Algiers
  • Athens
  • Varna
  • Belgrade
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Black Sea
  • Caspian Sea
  • Adriatic Sea

The Ottoman Empire was established around 1300 by the conquests of the first sultan, Osman I. The empire, continuously expanding in all directions, conquered the Byzantine Empire as well in 1453 by capturing Constantinople.

The Ottoman Empire reached its peak during the reign of Suleiman I (Suleiman the Magnificent) in the mid-16th century. However, the fate of the empire could be foreseen even during its golden age. Eventually, internal and external problems led to a gradual decline and the fall of the empire that was also called the 'sick man of Europe'.

Russian Empire (1914)

  • Saint Petersburg - Established in 1703 by Peter the Great, this city became the Russian capital in 1712.
  • Riga
  • Kiev
  • Odessa
  • Samarkand
  • Krasnoyarsk
  • Okhotsk
  • Arkhangelsk
  • Arctic Ocean
  • Okhotsk Sea
  • Black Sea
  • Caspian Sea
  • Baltic Sea

The name of the Russian Empire was given by Peter the Great himself who wanted to modernise the previous Tsardom. He established a new capital, Saint Petersburg, in 1703 which was named after Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles.

The empire reached its peak during the reign of Catherine II, who made significant territorial gains and the Russian Empire became even larger. It reached its greatest territorial extent in the 2nd half of the 19th century, at which time there were more than a hundred ethnic groups living on an area of about 23 million square kilometres. The empire started to decline in the mid-19th century and was finally overthrown by the February Revolution in 1917.

British Empire (1914)

  • London - The centre of the British Empire was the largest city in the world in the 19th century.
  • Perth
  • Brisbane
  • Cape Town
  • Durban
  • Vancouver
  • Montreal
  • Calcutta
  • Bombay
  • Hong Kong
  • Auckland
  • Cairo
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Indian Ocean
  • Gibraltar
  • Malta
  • Weihaiwei

In contrast to other states, the English started colonisation relatively late but with great enthusiasm. The British Empire became a truly global empire by the 19th century. It was the largest and most populous territory in history ruled by a single state and it had the strongest economy in the world.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the British Empire controlled about a quarter of the Earth’s total land area and one-fifth of the population was living on its territories. The phrase 'the empire on which the Sun never sets' is also true of the British Empire.

The global influence of the British Empire as well as the period of relative peace after the Napoleonic Wars, Pax Britannica, ended in 1914 with the outbreak of World War I.

Related items

Aztec ruler (15th century)

The Aztec Empire was a despotic, militaristic state ruled by the tlatoani.

Aztec warriors (15th century)

The fearsome looking Aztec warriors could not stop the Spanish conquistadors with their primitive weapons.

Chichen Itza (12th century)

The legendary city of the Mayan-Toltec Empire was located on the territory of present-day Mexico.

Colonisation and decolonisation

The colonising powers´ colours were wiped off the map by the nations fighting to regain their independence.

Conquistador (16th century)

Spanish conquerors owed their success to their armour and firearms.

Continents and oceans

Dry land on the surface of Earth is divided into continents which are separated by oceans.

English battleship (18th century)

English sailing ships were among the best ships in the 17th-19th centuries.

European colonisation of the Americas (up to 1763)

Several European countries joined the conquest of the New World, making America a colourful continent.

Forms of government and official state languages

The animation shows the forms of government and official languages of the world´s countries.

Geographical discoveries (15th-17th century)

Legendary geographical discoveries at the beginning of the Modern Age had not only redrawn maps, but also had a truly diverse impact.

German soldier (World War I)

German sordiers in the First World War were well trained and used modern weapons.

Inca warrior (15th century)

The Incas´ rudimentary weapons were inadequate in their struggle against the Spanish Conquistadors.

Legendary ancient empires

Numerous legendary empires were built (and destroyed) in the course of history.

Legendary buildings

A selection of legendary buildings from the history of civilisation.

Legendary medieval empires

Numerous legendary empires were built (and destroyed) in the course of history.

Machu Picchu (15th century)

The ancient Inca city, located in present-day Peru, is a World Heritage Site.

Mir Castle Complex (17th century)

The Mir Castle Complex, situated in the town of Mir, Belarus was built in the Gothic-Renaissance style.

Napoleonic Wars

Napoleon I, who crowned himself emperor, was one of the most outstanding military commanders in history.

Native American settlement (Crow Nation)

The Crow are Native Americans who inhabited the Yellowstone River valley.

Russian Tsar Peter I with his wife

Influenced by Western Europe, the Tsar attempted to modernise the Russian Empire.

Santa Maria (15th century)

Christopher Columbus' three-masted carrack, the Santa Maria was the flagship of his first, landmark voyage.

Sights of the world

A game about sights around the world.


Modern Slavs live in 14 European countries that can be classified into 3 groups.

Tenochtitlan (15th century)

The magnificent capital of the Aztec Empire astonished even the Spanish Conquistadors.

Teotihuacan (4th century)

Majestic even in its ruins, this city was the largest and most populous settlement in the pre-Columbian Americas.

The Alhambra in the 16th century (Spain)

The name of this magnificent palace complex originates in Arabic and means 'the red one'.

The countries of the Americas

Learning about the geographic location, capitals and flags of American countries through exercises in three levels of difficulty.

The history of human migration

The migration of large human populations began in Ancient times.

Tower of London (16th century)

The intriguing history of this historic castle spans nearly a thousand years.

Added to your cart.