Throughout history, there have always been a few countries that have exerted military, cultural, technologic, economic and political dominance, on which the other nations relied upon. Even though at one point or another, such core countries are recognized as wealthy with a plethora of resources and sometimes with advantageous geographical locations, they cannot maintain their position forever. Let’s review the nations and empires that left strong trademarks in the world’s history.
1. Soviet Union
What was first perceived as a salvation army for many countries in Eastern and Central Europe, turned out to be a terrifying monster. In spite of the fact that most people associated Communism with Lenin and Stalin, let’s not forget the atrocities of the other dictators brought to power in the Soviet Union and who have systematically killed millions of civilians simply because they chose not agree with them. Yet, Communism was not only about slaughters, but also about keeping the population in constant fear and isolation from the rest of the world.
2. Nazi Germany
Despite the fact that the Nazi regime did not hold power for too long in Germany, it was a superpower at its time that has significantly affected the world as we know it. The Nazis are not only responsible for the beginning of the Second World War, but have also been the promoters of genocide and unimaginable atrocities. Even though the records speak of 4 million people killed in the Holocaust, many historians claim that the number of Jews and Eastern Europeans killed exceeds 11 millions.
3. Roman Empire
While the story of the beginning of the Roman Empire is controversial, one thing is for sure: we have the Romans to thank for the model of state prevalent today. In fact, many look back on Rome as the perfect empire where everything was fair and always working smooth. The Roman Empire was an extraordinary power in its time and its influence was felt over the centuries in Europe: simply put, Romans contributed to the development of technology, architecture, war, law, literature and the religion in the Western World.
4. The British Empire
In all honesty, the British Empire is the largest kingdom this world has ever known. Measuring over 13 million square miles and controlling over 500 million people, the British can truly be considered the rulers of the world at that point in history. Interestingly enough, the effects of the administration over a quarter of the world’s population are still visible these days as people continue to follow the political reforms, way of life and culture promoted by the British. Furthermore, English is the second most spoken language in the world and numerous linguists consider it the “de facto” standard language on Earth.
5. The Spanish Empire
Constructed mainly during the Age of Exploration, the Spanish Empire incorporated vast territories in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Oceania. However, the power and dominance exerted by the Spanish on the world only lasted a century and it was downhill all the way for them after they suffered a harsh defeat and lost almost the entire army to England. Nonetheless, Spain’s influences on the conquered territories are still visible today, two of the most noticeable ones being the Spanish language (considered the third language of the world) and Catholicism.
6. The Ottoman Empire
At its peak, the Ottoman Empire spread across three different continents and was rightfully considered the center of interaction between Eastern and Western cultures. In addition to controlling almost 30 provinces in Western Asia, Northern Africa and Europe, the Ottoman Empire also had numerous vassal states that it administered for nearly six centuries.
7. The Mongol Empire
Even though most historians describe the Mongols are savages and barbarians, you have to admit the fact that it takes a certain level of management and organization in order to control the entire Europe and large portions of Asia. Technically speaking, this is the second largest empire recorded in human history. Extremely disciplined and versatile in battle, the Mongols under the command of Genghis Han vowed to bring the entire world to its knees. Skilled with the composite bow, intimidation and psychological warfare, they were the only ones to bring down the Great Roman Empire.
8. The Persian Empire
More often than not, when they are asked to name a great ancient nation most people automatically think of the Greeks and Romans. However, long before these great empires came to be, the Persian Empire was already ruling over three continents. Little do people know that it is the Persians we should thank for the postal system, the road infrastructure, the idea of a government as well as the emblematic Persian rugs.
9. The United States of America
Irrespective of whether you agree or not, the US is the most dominant country of today and the title does not refer exclusively to its uncontested military power. Essentially, the Unites States of America have an economy estimated at around 14 trillion dollars, a number that is very close to the entire globe’s GDP. In spite of the fact that Russia has more nuclear weapons than the US, the latter compensates via the number of military bases, strategically located in key points of the globe. Home to the world’s leading corporations and holding 5 seats in the UN’s Security Council, the US can be considered the only super power on Earth today.
10. People’s Republic of China
While some analysts place the blame on the recent worldwide economic crisis, all evidence points out that China will become a force to be reckoned with in the near future. Granted, China do not possess all the military power of the United States and it does not have similarly powerful allies. However, China has the world’s largest army and, just like the US, holds 5 seats at the United Nations Security Council. In addition, you can’t ignore the fact that one in six people on Earth is Chinese and that the economy of this country is estimated at around 5.7 trillion dollars. And, did you know that the most famous and commonly seen three words today are “Made in China”?