Most powerful empires of each century

Mar 2016
879
Australia
France should be 1797 - 1815
I was sticking strictly to empires in an official sense, and France was a republic until 1804 (nominally).

Spanish Empire only in the first half of 17th century.
No, the reigns of Charles V and Philip II saw the height of Spain's territorial dominance - the 16th century saw the Low Countries, and Portugal and its empire ruled by the Spanish monarch.

In the second half of 17th century it's France.
Again, I'm sticking to official empires, and France during the reign of Louis XIV was still very much a kingdom, just with slightly enlarged borders. And its track record of expansion and dominance is very mixed during this era, and ended with France being contained by a large anti-French coalition.
 
Sep 2016
911
Georgia
I was sticking strictly to empires in an official sense, and France was a republic until 1804 (nominally).
No, the reigns of Charles V and Philip II saw the height of Spain's territorial dominance - the 16th century saw the Low Countries, and Portugal and its empire ruled by the Spanish monarch.
When did Philip II have the title of the emperor ? When did Spain become an official empire ? It was still a kingdom. Philip II was still a KING !

Also, it was you who said ,, Spanish empire in 17th century ''. Do you have problem with dates and numbers ?
Again, I'm sticking to official empires, and France during the reign of Louis XIV was still very much a kingdom, just with slightly enlarged borders. And its track record of expansion and dominance is very mixed during this era, and ended with France being contained by a large anti-French coalition.
France was most powerful country in Europe in second half of 17th century. By your logic, you shouldn't include France of Napoleon. You know why ? Because it was contained and eventually defeated in only 10 years. It lost all it's gains. Louis XIV had longer period of dominance and managed to retain many of his acquisitions.

France of Louis XIV gained Artois, Roussillon, Franche-Comte, Lorraine, Luxembourg, Lower Alsace and many cities of Spanish Netherlands in period of 1659 - 1684.
It had the biggest army and the fleet which could rival English and Dutch in 1680's. In fact, French defeated Anglo-Dutch fleet in Battle of Beachy Head in 1690.

In fact, France in 1684 was bigger than modern France in terms of north and eastern borders.

France achieved overall victory in the Dutch War. French defeated Spain, Holy Roman Empire and Brandenburg - Prussia.

Not to mention, that Louis also managed to install Bourbon dynasty on Spanish throne and broke ,, Habsburg encirclement '' at the end of his reign.

You also shouldn't judge might of the state just by the size territorial acquisitions alone.
 
Last edited:
Feb 2018
202
US
Any 17th century European country can't be compared to the Mughals. That's a ridiculously eurocentric view. A more fair comparison to them would be the entirety of Europe.

The difference between Louis XIV's France and Napoleon's France is not necessarily their internal strength but who they are comparing against. The military Great Divergence occurred sometime in the 18th or early 19th century (at some point prior to the Opium Wars) when the Qing seriously declined after a long era of peace. Given the European practice of war vastly improved in a few decades after the French Revolution, that seems to be a reasonable choice of a very fuzzy situation.
 
Sep 2016
911
Georgia
Any 17th century European country can't be compared to the Mughals. That's a ridiculously eurocentric view. A more fair comparison to them would be the entirety of Europe.
Can you even read ? Here is what I've said :
France was most powerful country in Europe in second half of 17th century.
The only ridiculous thing here is your post.
 
Mar 2016
879
Australia
Also, it was you who said ,, Spanish empire in 17th century ''. Do you have problem with dates and numbers ?
You said that Spain shouldn't be considered the greatest empire in the 16th century - only the 17th century - and I argued that that isn't the case, since the 16th century saw Spanish overlordship of the Low Countries and Portugal (and by extent Portugal's own global empire), which is more significant than what Spain controlled in the early 17th century. The enormous wealth that came with these possessions (especially the Low Countries) were not compensated after their loss. Also, check your tone with that last comment. It comes off as passive aggressive.

France was most powerful country in Europe in second half of 17th century. By your logic, you shouldn't include France of Napoleon. You know why ? Because it was contained and eventually defeated in only 10 years. It lost all it's gains. Louis XIV had longer period of dominance and managed to retain many of his acquisitions.
Napoleon was literally crowned as an emperor, which Louis was not, and he also ruled over several kings (e.g. in Westphalia, Saxony, Naples, Italy and Spain). Louis, meanwhile, was crowned as king only, and did not rule over any kings, merely petty lords like dukes (who had basically no power in his reign anyway). Napoleon's empire also encompassed a much larger area, and with many different cultures and peoples in them (e.g. Dutch, German, Croatian, Italian, Spanish) whereas even at its greatest extent Louis's kingdom ruled over an overwhelmingly French population, with some very small additions of mixed populations on the fringes along the Rhine, on the border with Spain and a small area of the southern Low Countries. All of these factors show that the two states are not comparable when talking about what was an empire and what wasn't.

In fact, France in 1684 was bigger than modern France in terms of north and eastern borders.
Yes, this is the case with many major countries in Europe. It isn't exactly impressive.

France achieved overall victory in the Dutch War. French defeated Spain, Holy Roman Empire and Brandenburg - Prussia.

Not to mention, that Louis also managed to install Bourbon dynasty on Spanish throne and broke ,, Habsburg encirclement '' at the end of his reign.
France most certainly did not achieve "overall victory" in the Dutch War, considering Louis embarked upon the war with the intention of conquering the Netherlands and destroying its independence, and failed in that.

And again, with the War of the Spanish Succession, he was not overall victorious since his original intention was a union between France and Spain, and ownership of Spain's overseas territories (as originally agreed upon by Charles II of Spain). Needless to say neither of these things happened. The Habsburgs were not returned to the throne of Spain, but that was his only victory - the Habsburgs gained large and important possessions in the Low Countries and Italy as compensation.

As usual you tend to overstate the triumphs of Louis, when almost all of his 'victories' in war were pyrrhic and very mixed.

You also shouldn't judge might of the state just by the size territorial acquisitions alone.
But we're not taking about the "state", we're talking specifically about empires, and when judged from that perspective, Louis's (which has already been established was not even an empire) is nowhere near as impressive as you make it out to be. I certainly do not believe it was superior or stronger than either the Ottoman Empire or the Mughal Empire.
 
Feb 2018
202
US
For a brief moment in time, Nader Shah had a very powerful empire, but it collapsed as quickly as Napoleon's did. The Napoleonic empire may have been ephemeral but within that time, it was able to successfully fight off a number of countries who would've been in the top 5 strongest powers of the time. Being able to win, even if just for a decade, against a coalition of the great powers would certainly seem to qualify for this topic.

Can you even read ? Here is what I've said :
The only ridiculous thing here is your post.
Sorry I was responding more to page 22, should have quoted specific posts.

This is a thread specifically about the world.
 
Apr 2019
45
Mumbai
4000 B.C. - Egypt
3000 B.C. - Egypt/Mesopotamia
2000 B.C.- Egypt/Mesopotamia/India
1000 B.C. - Egypt/Mesopotamia/India/China
1 A.D.- China/India
1000 A.D. - India/China
1500 A.D. China/ India
1600 A.D. - India/China
1700 A.D. - India/China
1800 A.D - China/ British Empire
1900 A.D. - British Empire/ USA
2000 A.D - USA
2100 A.D. - China/USA/India/EU

Source: Angus Maddison - Wikipedia
 

Similar History Discussions