Is the Mongol Empire really the largest contiguous land empire in history?

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,659
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#2
The Mongol and Russian empires extended about as far from East to West going by longitude, and the territories they ruled included many of the same regions, but the Mongol empire extended farther to the south where each degree of longitude was farther in miles than in Russian latitudes, and the Mongol empire also seems to have extended farther from north to south. Also the borders of the Russian empire and its total land area should be better known than those of the Mongol Empire.

According to Wikipedia's List of Largest Empires: List of largest empires - Wikipedia

The Mongol Empire had an area of 24,000,000 square kilometers or 9,270,000 square miles, 16.11 percent of the world's area, at the time of its greatest extend in 1270 or 1309.

The Russian Empire had an area of 22,800,000 square kilometers or 8,800,000 square miles, 15.31 percent of the world's area, at the time of its greatest extend in 1895. (Russia sold Alaska, which is a large area, in 1867. Did its gains in Asia from 1867-1895 exceed the area of Alaska? Alaska has an area of 1,717,856 kilometers or 663,268 square miles.)

And these are the sources for those sizes:

Expansion and Contraction Patterns of Large Polities: Context for Russia

According to the table on page 498 the territories in central Asia annexed by Russia in 1867-1895 were several times as large as Alaska.

East-West Orientation of Historical Empires and Modern States | Turchin | Journal of World-Systems Research
 
Last edited:
Mar 2016
741
Australia
#5
The problem is that by the time the Mongol Empire reached its greatest territorial extent in the 1270s in the reign of Kublai, it wasn't a unified empire anymore, so it's kind of incorrect to consider it a single empire. Even in the 1250s it was starting to break apart and form practically independent (if nominally subordinate) realms in their own regions.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,559
SoCal
#6
The Mongol and Russian empires extended about as far from East to West going by longitude, and the territories they ruled included many of the same regions, but the Mongol empire extended farther to the south where each degree of longitude was farther in miles than in Russian latitudes, and the Mongol empire also seems to have extended farther from north to south. Also the borders of the Russian empire and its total land area should be better known than those of the Mongol Empire.

According to Wikipedia's List of Largest Empires: List of largest empires - Wikipedia

The Mongol Empire had an area of 24,000,000 square kilometers or 9,270,000 square miles, 16.11 percent of the world's area, at the time of its greatest extend in 1270 or 1309.

The Russian Empire had an area of 22,800,000 square kilometers or 8,800,000 square miles, 15.31 percent of the world's area, at the time of its greatest extend in 1895. (Russia sold Alaska, which is a large area, in 1867. Did its gains in Asia from 1867-1895 exceed the area of Alaska? Alaska has an area of 1,717,856 kilometers or 663,268 square miles.)

And these are the sources for those sizes:

Expansion and Contraction Patterns of Large Polities: Context for Russia

According to the table on page 498 the territories in central Asia annexed by Russia in 1867-1895 were several times as large as Alaska.

East-West Orientation of Historical Empires and Modern States | Turchin | Journal of World-Systems Research
So, had Russia kept Alaska, it would have beat out the Mongol Empire?

Also, wouldn't the Soviet Empire beat out the Mongol Empire considering that it also included Mongolia and Eastern Europe (in both cases, as satellite states)?
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,659
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#7
So, had Russia kept Alaska, it would have beat out the Mongol Empire?

Also, wouldn't the Soviet Empire beat out the Mongol Empire considering that it also included Mongolia and Eastern Europe (in both cases, as satellite states)?
According to my calculation, Imperial Russia would have had an area of about 24,517,856 square kilometers in 1895 if it had kept Alaska and also expanded as much as it did in our timeline, and that would have been about 517,856 square kilometers more than the about 24,000,000 square kilometers considered to be the largest size of the Mongol Empire. I strongly suspect that the maximum size of the Mongol Empire is probably consierably rounded to come out at 24,000,000 square kilometers.

Mongolia and Eastern Europe were not part of the Soviet Empire. They were not formally annexed to the Soviet Empire. They continued to be recognized as independent sovereign states within the Soviet alliance system and spheres of influence.

On the other hand, Russia during the Mongol rule was part of the Mongol Empire, since the Russian princes were appointed, deposed, and executed by the Mongols, paid tribute to them, and were given orders by them.

And there was never a state with the name of Soviet Empire,so there was never a soviet empire.
 
Likes: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,559
SoCal
#8
According to my calculation, Imperial Russia would have had an area of about 24,517,856 square kilometers in 1895 if it had kept Alaska and also expanded as much as it did in our timeline, and that would have been about 517,856 square kilometers more than the about 24,000,000 square kilometers considered to be the largest size of the Mongol Empire. I strongly suspect that the maximum size of the Mongol Empire is probably consierably rounded to come out at 24,000,000 square kilometers.

Mongolia and Eastern Europe were not part of the Soviet Empire. They were not formally annexed to the Soviet Empire. They continued to be recognized as independent sovereign states within the Soviet alliance system and spheres of influence.

On the other hand, Russia during the Mongol rule was part of the Mongol Empire, since the Russian princes were appointed, deposed, and executed by the Mongols, paid tribute to them, and were given orders by them.

And there was never a state with the name of Soviet Empire,so there was never a soviet empire.
OK.

Also, what about having Russia outright annex Mongolia and Xinjiang?
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,659
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#10
Good rule of the thumb is that both Greenland and the Arabian peninsula are about the same size.
If you look at a map however...
That depends on which map projection is used. The famous and familiar Mercator projection became very common because a straight line course at sea is the same as a straight line course on a map with a Mercator projection. That made it very easy for navigators to plot their ship's courses at sea on a chart. But there are other map projections which give equal areas to land at all latitudes.

Map projection - Wikipedia
 
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