History of Civilizations and Empires
The flagship empires of world history. From the Mongols to the China of the Manchus, rediscover these great groups that will have marked their time.
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TheOttoman Empire was built by a dynasty of Turks from Central Asia that lasted until the aftermath of the First World War. Erected on the ruins of the Seljuk state of Anatolia and then on those of the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Empire (or Osmanli) presents itself as the heir to the Arab caliphate and the Byzantine power. It covered at its peak three continents, stretching in Europe to the Austro-Hungarian borders and in Asia to Persia, stretching on the western and eastern coasts of the Red Sea and on the Mediterranean coasts of the 'North Africa.
Of the great Chinese dynasties, that of the Han is one of the most important, and paradoxically one of the least known. Its heyday, during the reign of Emperor Wudi, is contemporary with the Roman Republic of the time of the Gracchi and the struggle between Sylla and Marius. It was at the same time that the famous Silk Road opened. The Han China also produced many of the great inventions of history, which would take several centuries to reach the West.
The Mongolian were one of the most destructive conquering powers the world has ever known. In the thirteenth century, they arose from the steppes of Asia, terrorizing the peoples of Eurasia, from China to Hungary. And yet, less than a century later, the immense mongolian empire had started to disintegrate into several independent states. By the end of the 15th century, it had almost disappeared from history, leaving behind, after an incredible ride, nothing but ruins and desolation.
Throughout its history, theChinese empire had to face invaders from the north. The Ming Dynasty, which ousted the Mongols and ruled the Empire from the middle of 1368 to 1644, set out to build the 5,000-kilometer Great Wall to defend its borders. In vain. In 1644, taking advantage of a civil war that was ravaging China, the Manchus from the northern regions invaded the country and seized Beijing. Founders of the Qing Dynasty, they were the last rulers of imperial China.
For a quarter of a century, from 1240 to 1480, the Russian principalities remained subject to the Mongol Tatars. The Grand Prince of Moscow Ivan III undertook from his accession to the throne in 1462 to unify them under his aegis and to begin the territorial expansion of Russia. Compared to the rest of Western Europe, this remains weak and backward. It was Peter the Great who, at the end of the 17th century, shaped the Modern Imperial Russia. It was under Catherine II and Alexander I that theRussian empire will reach its peak.
Incas are at the origin of the founding of the last great empire ofpre-columbian america. It stretched along the Andes for nearly 5,000 kilometers from the equator to central Chile and was linked by a network of roads and suspension bridges. Despite its wealth and power, the Inca Empire only lasted a century before succumbing to the blows of Pizarro and the Spanish conquistadors.
With its capital Constantinople, the EByzantine mpire was the direct descendant of the Eastern Roman Empire. The fall of Rome in 476 being a major break in Roman history, it is accepted that we speak of the Byzantine Empire for the period after that date. In the fifth century, its territory included all the territories located in the eastern Mediterranean, from Greece to Egypt. Gradually shrinking under the influence of Arab and Slavic invasions, it lasted nearly a thousand years, up to the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453.
In the 13th century, when King Louis IX (Saint Louis) reigned in France, a new empire was born in sub-Saharan Africa, on the ruins of that of Ghana. Founded by the legendary Soundiata Keita, theMali Empire is quickly becoming a rich and powerful state, connected to the commercial and cultural networks of Africa, far beyond the Sahara, to the Muslim world. In the 14th century, the reputation of Mansa even crossed the Mediterranean as it was found featured on the famous Catalan Atlas, offered to the King of France Charles V by the King of Aragon.
The song dynasty begins in 960 CE, and follows decades of political chaos. After the fall of the previous Tang dynasty in 907 following a coup, a period of instability sets in, known as the Five Dynasty period in North China, and the Ten Kingdoms period. in South China. China was then divided and in the midst of civil war, each of the factions trying to recreate the Empire and take the lead.