List of Top 10 Largest Empires and Their Rulers

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Throughout history, much of the world has been ruled by some of the largest empires in the world. These vast empires have a major impact on trade routes, cultural formation, and historical progression. 

From the Mongol Empire’s union of East and West to the Ottomans’ widespread influence, these empires have quickly changed the path of human history and left a deep and enduring mark.

Let’s explore the top 10 largest empires and their formidable rulers in this post at Listopology.

1. Roman Empire

The Roman Empire is famous for its vast influence on Western civilization, including its advancements in governance, law, engineering, architecture, and culture. Its ruling era spanned from 27 BC to AD 476 (or in the Eastern Roman Empire, until AD 1453).

The top 5 rulers of the Roman Empire, often regarded for their impact, include:

  1. Augustus: 27 BC – AD 14
  2. Julius Caesar: 49 BC – 44 BC
  3. Trajan: AD 98 – 117
  4. Hadrian: AD 117 – 138
  5. Marcus Aurelius: AD 161 – 180

2. Mongol Empire

The Mongol Empire, ruling from the early 13th to the mid-14th century, was famed for its unparalleled conquests, creating the largest contiguous land empire in history.

Led by fearsome warriors like Genghis Khan, it stretched from Eastern Europe to Asia, facilitating cultural exchange, trade, and the dissemination of ideas. Top rulers of the Mongol empire include.

  1. Genghis Khan (1206-1227)
  2. Kublai Khan (1260-1294)
  3. Ogedei Khan (1229-1241)
  4. Batu Khan (1227-1255)
  5. Hulagu Khan (1256-1265)

3. British Empire

The British Empire, spanning from the 16th to the mid-20th century, was renowned for its vast territorial holdings, naval power, and significant influence on global politics, economy, and culture.

With colonies across continents, it shaped modern world history through trade, colonization, and industrialization.

The top rulers of British Empire are:

  1. Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
  2. Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603)
  3. King George III (1760-1820)
  4. King Henry VIII (1509-1547)
  5. Queen Elizabeth II (1952-present)

4. Islamic Caliphates

The Islamic Caliphates were famous for spreading Islam, advancing, art, and culture, and establishing a vast empire across the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Europe and Asia. Their ruling era spanned from the 7th to the 13th century.

Below are the top rulers of Islamic Caliphates:

  1. Umar ibn al-Khattab (634-644)
  2. Uthman ibn Affan (644-656)
  3. Ali ibn Abi Talib (656-661)
  4. Harun al-Rashid (786-809)
  5. Suleiman (1520-1566)

5. Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire was renowned for its longevity, spanning over six centuries and bridging Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is famous for its military prowess, architectural marvels like the Hagia Sophia, and its contributions to art, culture, and law. 

The ruling era of the Ottoman Empire lasted from the 14th to the early 20th century. The top 5 rulers of the Ottoman Empire include:

  1. Osman I (1299-1326)
  2. Mehmed the Conqueror (1444-1446, 1451-1481)
  3. Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566)
  4. Selim I (1512-1520)
  5. Murad IV (1623-1640)

Explore now: List of 10 Greatest Empires of Indian History

6. Russian Empire

The Russian Empire gained fame for its vast territorial expansion, transforming Russia into one of the largest empires in history. It played a significant role in European politics, culture, and military affairs.

The ruling era of the Russian Empire spanned from the early 18th to the early 20th century. The top 5 rulers of the Russian Empire include:

  1. Peter the Great (1682-1725)
  2. Catherine the Great (1762-1796)
  3. Nicholas I (1825-1855)
  4. Alexander II (1855-1881)
  5. Nicholas II (1894-1917)

7. Greek Empire

The Greek Empire, particularly the Hellenistic period following the conquests of Alexander the Great, was renowned for its significant contributions to art, philosophy, science, and literature. It spread Greek culture and language across vast territories, fostering the exchange of ideas and the flourishing of civilization.

The Hellenistic era lasted from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC to the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC. The top 5 rulers of the Hellenistic Greek Empire were:

  1. Alexander the Great (336-323 BC)
  2. Philip II of Macedon (359-336 BC)
  3. Ptolemy I Soter (305-282 BC)
  4. Seleucus I Nicator (305-281 BC)
  5. Antiochus III the Great (222-187 BC)

8. Persian Empire

The Persian Empire, notably the Achaemenid Empire, was famous for its vast size, efficient administration, and cultural achievements. It facilitated trade and cultural exchange along the famed Silk Road, constructed impressive architectural wonders like Persepolis, and implemented pioneering systems of governance.

The Achaemenid Empire’s ruling era spanned from 550 BC to 330 BC. The top 5 rulers of the Achaemenid Persian Empire were:

  1. Cyrus the Great (559-530 BC)
  2. Darius I (522-486 BC)
  3. Xerxes I (486-465 BC)
  4. Artaxerxes I (465-424 BC)
  5. Darius III (336-330 BC)

9. Chinese Empire

The Chinese Empire, known for its rich history and cultural heritage, was famed for its advanced civilization, technological innovations, and vast territorial expansions. Its ruling eras varied across dynasties, spanning thousands of years of history.

Top 5 rulers of Chinese dynasties include:

  1. Qin Shi Huang (221-210 BC, Qin Dynasty)
  2. Emperor Wu of Han (141-87 BC, Han Dynasty)
  3. Emperor Taizong of Tang (626-649 AD, Tang Dynasty)
  4. Emperor Kangxi (1661-1722 AD, Qing Dynasty)
  5. Emperor Hongwu (1368-1398 AD, Ming Dynasty)

10. Egyptian Empire

The Egyptian Empire, renowned for its ancient civilization along the Nile River, was famous for its monumental architecture, such as the pyramids and the Sphinx, as well as its advanced knowledge in science, mathematics, and medicine.

The ruling era of ancient Egypt spanned thousands of years, from around 3100 BC to 332 BC. Top 5 rulers of ancient Egypt include:

  1. Pharaoh Khufu (2589-2566 BC, Old Kingdom)
  2. Pharaoh Hatshepsut (1478-1458 BC, New Kingdom)
  3. Pharaoh Ramses II (1279-1213 BC, New Kingdom)
  4. Pharaoh Akhenaten (1353-1336 BC, New Kingdom)
  5. Pharaoh Cleopatra VII (51-30 BC, Ptolemaic Kingdom)


In conclusion, these largest empires of the world, each with its unique characteristics and contributions, collectively weave the intricate tapestry of human history.

From the ancient marvels of Egypt to the vast conquests of the Mongols, and from the enduring influence of the Roman Empire to the cultural richness of the Chinese dynasties, they have left an indelible mark on human civilization.

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