SATURDAY, JUNE 4, 2016
Eric Lee, A-SOCIATED PRESS
TOPICS: HISTORY, FROM THE WIRES, PREHISTORY
TUCSON (A-P) — And then there was:
10,000,000 BP: The common ancestor of common humans and less common chimpanzees was likely a patriarchal, alpha male dominated, male aggressive/misogynistic, sexually promiscuous nomadic ape. Females were likely exogamous—they leave their extended family to live with another band of less closely related males and mate with them.
6,000,000 BP: Early humans evolve into multiple increasingly upright bipedal species with males cooperatively traveling widely to scavenge, hunt and defend territory while females with children forage closer to base camp. Male dominance was deemphasized to allow the males to work more cooperatively together and share more equitably.
4,000,000 BP: Humans evolve serial monogamy based on serotonin and norepinephrine mediated infatuatory-sexual feeling. Females "in love" tend to focus on their chosen one such that he "knows" that he is the likely father of resulting offspring and that preferential food (especially meat) gifts he bestows upon his true love, before birth and while nursing his likely child, are appropriate—have an evolutionary payoff. When the child is weaned after a few years, it is largely independent, without need of parental care. When the mother is fertile again, she may choose a different mate. Romance-based serial pair-bonds are programmed to end within a few years (2-4 years).
2,000,000 BP: Hominids roaming Africa may be pre-sapiens, but are close enough to be considered human. If the past 2 million years of humanity's walk on this planet are compared to the life of a 50 year old individual living today, almost their entire life would have been lived profoundly differently than recent times, in groups of maybe 20 to 50. The last 10,000 years, the coming of agriculture, cities, and empire building, would have been in the last three months. The Industrial Revolution, starting with steam engines and leading up to Facebook enabled cell phones that can take selfies, happened in the last three days. Few humans can concern themselves with things more than five years in the future (or one hour), rendering them posterity blind.
1,000,000 BP: Bigger brains require more time to program—there is more to learn and infants are born increasingly more immature to allow the head to pass through the birth canal. Childhood is extended beyond weaning. A woman may have more than one dependent offspring at a time and male support is valued as it may make the difference. Having multiple fathers of multiple dependent offspring doesn't work well. Pair bonding evolves to last based on oxytocin and vasopressin mediated feelings of commitment to allow for longterm monogamy, but the infatuatory-sexual propensity remains as does the promiscuous pattern that preceded the romantic infatuatory-sexual adaptation favoring serial monogamy. Old patterns are not erased before being overlaid with more adaptive patterns, leaving the atavistic patterns to remain or gradually fade away.
300,000 BP: Human lifespan becomes extended to allow for grandparents to help with childrearing, freeing the younger mothers to roam farther in gathering foods without children in tow. They can gather more food allowing them to feed their parents and extended family too. Grandfathers teach their grandsons to hunt small game and make tools. Women supply most of the food. Men bring home the bacon (sometimes). The social order is matriarchal, matrilineal, and matrilocal. Mythology emphasizes the Great Mother metaphor as in Gaia, Mother Nature, and Mother Earth. Males are exogamous, going to live with their wife's band—a small nomadic group of typically 20-50 people including grandparents and children. The bands of related women are on semi-friendly terms most of the time except during periods of scarcity. Human evolution selects for egalitarian tendencies that favor the gifting economy. Patriarchal alpha male inclinations among men remain but are moderated by cultural egalitarian norms that women favor.
10,000 BCE (11,950 BP): Early agriculture begins the Neolithic. Hunter-gatherer cultures tend to be matriarchal, as are Early and Middle Neolithic societies whose mythologies (narratives) are Great Mother/goddess based. The social systems tend towards the egalitarian and the economic system is based on sharing.
9130–7370 BCE (a 1,760 year period): Göbekli Tepe is an archaeological site in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of modern-day Turkey featuring the earliest known massive monument building that was begun by hunter-gatherer nomads. As they were not united by force of arms, and the site is for ceremonial use on special occasions when the nomadic bands meet up. The site is evidence for the first Empire of Belief created by a priest/storyteller whose narrative spreads to the storytellers in other bands who tell the viral tale. Believing priests, former storytellers, turn humans into true believers and thereby prosper. The High Priestess or Priest can direct monument building during the regional gathering to hear the Word from on High. Priests and/or priestesses are elites lording over the minds of commoners, teaching them to believe in belief from early childhood. Elite religious hierarchies form before military empires are made possible by agricultural surplus. When chiefs come to rule chiefdoms, the priests are natural fellow elites who tend to support the armed empire builders by mixing their this-worldly narrative with their own other-worldly narrative.
6500–3800 BCE (2,700 years): The Ubaid period is a prehistoric period of early empire building among Mesopotamian agriculturalists. In South Mesopotamia the period is the earliest known period on the alluvial plain. In North Mesopotamia the period runs only between about 5300 and 4300 BCE. Agriculture allows for chiefdoms, trial runs for later more expansive empire building that favor alpha male chiefs and warriors.
5200 BCE: The Indo-European language and culture spread in several stages from the Pontic steppes into western Europe, central Asia and India. This process started with the introduction of cattle at the Eurasian steppes, which led to the rise of a new culture, to a kind of cowboy culture. Between 4500 and 2000 BCE, they spread-out with their cattle and horses over the Pontic steppes, and outside into Europe and Asia. Use of force was involved in displacing hunter-gatherers, but the expansion was based on cattle as the basis of the economic system that empowered them. Much as plant-based agriculture supported empires in Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, coastal Andes, and Mesoamerica, animal-based agriculture supported the spread of the Indo-Europeans. The first Indo-European speakers to build empire based on military force are the Hittites who had spread into central Turkey fighting with chariots and iron weapons. Linguistics has allowed the reliable reconstruction of a large number of words relating to kinship relations. These all agree in exhibiting a patriarchal, patrilocal and patrilineal social fabric that opposes the Paleolithic hunter-gatherer and Early and Middle Neolithic egalitarian norms. In patriarchies women are exogamous, joining their husband's (their overlord's) family. The mythology focuses on supreme beings, on really Big Gods with strongly alpha male natures who are intolerant of matriarchal narratives. Empire building favors patriarchal values and the conquered become patriarchal. Wanting to be an alpha male is a biological atavism as is the capacity to fear and submit to alpha male elites, real or imagined, that goes with empire building.
4000–3100 BCE (900 years): The Uruk period existed in the protohistoric Early Bronze Age period in the history of Mesopotamia. This period saw the emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia. It was followed by the Sumerian civilization. The late Uruk period (34th to 32nd centuries) saw the gradual emergence of the cuneiform script and corresponds to the Early Bronze Age; it may also be called the Protoliterate period.
3650–1450 BCE (2,200 years): Minoan civilization (mature period 2000–1450 BCE) was an Aegean Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and other Aegean islands. Homer recorded that Crete once had 90 cities. The Minoan writing system remains unreadable, so 100% of information recorded in it was lost.
3500–1800 BCE (1,700 years): The Norte Chico civilization (also Caral or Caral-Supe civilization) was a complex pre-Columbian society that included as many as 30 major population centers in what is now the Norte Chico region of north-central coastal Peru. Since the early 21st century, it has been established as the oldest known civilization in the Americas.
3300–3000 BCE (300 years): Start of Bronze Age. Weapons "improve," which facilitates empire building. Technology becomes as a vat of wine to an alcoholic. Both feel good but have lamentable side effects. Imagine giving a hundred five-year olds a machete and turning them loose on your Mother's Garden unsupervised for five hours. They would lay waste to the Garden, injure one another, and there would likely be fatalities—the story of Man's last five thousand years in the Great Mother's Garden Earth.
3300–1300 BCE (2,000 years): The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was a Bronze Age civilization (mature period 2600–1600 BCE) mainly in northwest South Asia, extending from what today is northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India. Along with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia it was one of three early civilizations of the Old World, and of the three the most widespread. It flourished in the basins of the Indus River and along a system of perennial, mostly monsoon-fed, rivers. The late Harappan phase, weakened but with no outside force to conquer it, witnessed large scale de-urbanization, population decrease, abandonment of many established settlements, lack of basic amenities, interpersonal violence and disappearance of the Harappan script (loss of two thousand years of information as what writing survived is unreadable–no literate Harappans survived or left a Rosetta book). Endo-European Arian's moved in the area to become the Bramans of India.
3000–2000 BCE (1,000 years): Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in England. Stonehenge's ring of standing stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England. The ceremonial site, like that of Göbekli Tepe, suggests an early empire of belief.
2686–2181 BCE (505 years): Egyptian Nile Empire. The earliest known large-scale empire appears in Egypt when King Narmer of the Upper Valley conquered lower Valley and laid the foundations for the Old Kingdom. Empire building requires warriors and an agricultural surplus to support them, as well as the elites who command them. Alpha males favoring patriarchy prosper, though some empire-builders are matriarchal. New narratives as told by priests and the intelligencia develop to normalize male and/or female elite dominance, inequality, and empire building.
2400–599 BCE (1,800 years): Assyria, a major Mesopotamian East Semitic-speaking kingdom and empire of the ancient Near East, existed as an independent state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BCE, until its collapse between 612 BCE and 599 BCE, spanning the mid to Early Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age. Weakened by resource depletion, the fading empire was conquered by upstart empire builders on the outskirts.
2334–2154 BCE (180 years): The Akkadian Empire, established by Sargon of Akkad 24th century BCE, was an early all-Mesopotamian empire.
1900–1500 BCE (400 years): The Erlitou culture is an early Bronze Age urban society and first recorded dynasty of China. Considered the first state level society of East Asia. The earliest bronze knife dated 3000 BCE and the Yellow River was used for irrigation around 2205 BCE.
1894–1595 BCE (300 years): Babylon was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural region based in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). Babylon greatly expanded during the reign of Hammurabi in the first half of the 18th century BCE. Babylon was then attacked by the Indo-European speaking and Asia Minor based Hittite Empire in 1595 BCE. Shamshu-Ditana was overthrown following the "sack of Babylon" by the Hittite king Mursili I. The Hittites did not remain for long.
1600–1180 BCE (420 years): The Hittites were an Ancient Anatolian people who established an empire centered on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia who spread, using horse and chariot tactics, and they were early iron workers. This empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BCE, when it encompassed an area that included most of Asia Minor as well as parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia. The empire came to an end during the Bronze Age collapse, splintering into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some of which survived until the 8th century BCE (700 BCE).
1600–1100 BCE (500 years): Mycenaean Greece (or Mycenaean civilization) was the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece. As with the later Roman Empire, the collapse of Mycenaean Greece was followed by a Dark Age which lacked a Holy Roman Empire type of institution to preserve some level of literacy. Mycenaeans developed Linear A script, which remains undeciphered, and Linear B script which the Classical Greeks came to base their written language on. During the Dark Age, information was passed on orally. Classical Greek thought was based on Homer's Dark Age narratives as they were eventually written down before being lost.
1570–1070 BCE (400 years): In the 15th century BCE, the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, ruled by Thutmose III, was ancient Africa's major force upon incorporating Nubia and the ancient city-states of the Levant.
1500–1046 BCE (454 years): In China rose the Shang Empire which fell to conquest by nearby empire builders.
1500–400 BCE (1,100 years): The Olmecs were the first major civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the present-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco.
1046–256 BCE (790 years): The Zhou Empire replaced the Shang Empire. Both surpassed in territory their contemporary Near Eastern empires. The Zhou Empire dissolved in 770 BCE into feudal multi-state system which lasted for five and a half centuries until the universal conquest of Qin in 221 BCE.
900–250 BCE (650 years): The Chavín culture is an extinct prehistoric civilization that developed in the northern Andean highlands of Peru. The end was preceded by a large increase in population.
916–612 BCE (304 years): Neo-Assyrian Empire, the first empire comparable to Rome in organization.
814–146 BCE (668 years): In the western Mediterranean the Empire of Carthage arises.
808–146 BCE (662 years): Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom on the northern periphery of Classical Greece and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece.
800-100 BCE (700 years): The Paracas culture was an Andean society with an extensive knowledge of irrigation and water management and significant contributions in the textile arts.
753-27 BCE (726 years): Rome is founded Rome was founded by Romulus, first of the seven Roman kings. 509 BCE Rome becomes a Republic, ruled by senators following a constitution and laws. 218E BCE Hannibal invades. Carthage decisively defeated in 202 BCE. Rome defeated Macedonia in 200 BCE and the Seleucids in 190/189 BCE. In 45 BCE Julius Caesar becomes the first dictator of Rome. In 30 BCE, Rome annexed the Ptolemaic Egypt. Caesar's assassination ends of the Roman Republic which reorganizes into the Roman empire in 27 BCE to continue expansion.
728–549 BCE (179 years): Median Empire. The Median Empire was the first empire within the territory of Persia.
700 BCE – 415 CE (1,115 years):: Ancient Greece was a civilization that flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. Included in ancient Greece is the period of Classical Greece, which flourished during the 5th to 4th centuries BCE. Classical Greece began with the repelling of a Persian invasion by Athenian leadership. Because of conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedonia, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean Basin and Europe. For this reason Classical Greece is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern Western non-Christian culture and is considered as the cradle of Western civilization. Vestiges lingered, but the end of Classical Greek culture can be marked by the burning of the Library of Alexandria or death by mob of Hypatia in 415 CE.
700 BCE – 700 CE (1,400 years): The Zapotec civilization was an indigenous pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca in Mexico. The Zapotec left archaeological evidence at the ancient city of Monte Albán in the form of buildings, ball courts, magnificent tombs and grave goods including finely worked gold jewelry. Monte Albán was one of the first major cities in Mesoamerica and the center of a Zapotec state.
678–549 BCE (129 years): The Medes Empire, after having allied with the Babylonians to defeat the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the Medes were able to establish their own empire, which was the largest of its day.
550–330 BCE (220 years): The Achaemenid Empire, also known as the first Persian Empire, covered Mesopotamia, Egypt, parts of Greece, Thrace, the Middle East, much of Central Asia, and Pakistan. It is considered the first great empire of Ancient History. It was overthrown and replaced by the short-lived empire of Alexander the Great. His Empire was succeeded by three Empires ruled by the Diadochi—the Seleucid, Ptolemaic, and Macedonian, which, despite being independent, are called the "Hellenistic Empire" by virtue of their similarities in culture and administration.
322–185 BCE (137 years): In India during the Axial Age appeared the Maurya Empire—a geographically extensive and powerful empire, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty. The empire was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, who rapidly expanded his power westward across central and western India, taking advantage of the disruptions of local powers following the withdrawal by Alexander the Great. By 320 BC, the Maurya Empire had fully occupied northwestern India as well as defeating and conquering the satraps left by Alexander. Under Emperor Asoka the Great, the Maurya Empire became the first Indian empire to conquer all Indian Peninsula—achievement repeated only twice, by the Gupta and Mughal Empires. In the reign of Asoka Buddhism spread to become the dominant religion in ancient India. It has been estimated that the Maurya dynasty controlled an unprecedented one-third of the world's entire economy, was home to one-third of the world's population at the time (an estimated 50 million out of 150 million humans), contained the world's largest city of the time (Pataliputra, estimated to be larger than Rome under Emperor Trajan) and according to Megasthenes, the empire wielded a military of 600,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry, and 9,000 war elephants.
312–63 BCE (249 years): The Seleucid Empire was a Hellenistic state ruled by the Seleucid dynasty. It was founded by Seleucus I Nicator following the division of the Macedonian empire vastly expanded by Alexander the Great.
247 BCE – 224 CE (445 years): Parthian Empire, also known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran and Iraq.
221–207 BCE (14 years): In China of the Axial Age, the era of the Warring States ended with the universal conquest of Qin. The King of Qin, Ying Zheng, became China's First Emperor and began the pattern of successive dynasties. Ying Zheng connected all the existing defense walls of northern China into what is known today Great Wall of China which marked the northern frontier of China. The Qin Dynasty was short lived and in 207 BCE was overthrown by the Han Dynasty.
207 BCE – 220 CE (457 years): Han Dynasty became one of East Asia's most long-lived dynasties. In the Second century CE the Han Empire expanded into Central Asia. By this time only three Empires stretched between the Pacific and the Atlantic—China, Parthia, and Rome.
100 BCE – 800 CE (900 years): The Nazca culture (also Nasca) was the archaeological culture that flourished from beside the arid, southern coast of Peru in the river valleys of the Rio Grande de Nazca drainage and the Ica Valley. The Nazca produced an array of crafts and technologies such as ceramics, textiles, and geoglyphs—specifically the Nazca Lines. They also built an impressive system of underground aqueducts, known as puquios, that still function today. From 500 CE, the civilization started to decline and by 750 CE the civilization had fallen completely. This is thought to have occurred when an El Niño triggered widespread and destructive flooding. Evidence also suggests that the Nazca people may have exacerbated the effects of these floods by gradually cutting down trees to make room for maize and cotton agriculture. These trees play an extremely important role as the ecological keystone of this landscape: in particular preventing river and wind erosion. Gradual removal of trees would have exposed the landscape to the effects of climate perturbations such as El Niño, leading to erosion and failure of irrigation systems.
100 BCE – 900 CE: (1000 years): The Quimbaya civilization was a South American civilization in Columbia, noted for spectacular gold work characterized by technical accuracy and detailed designs. The Quimbaya reached their zenith during the 4th to 7th century CE period. Around the 10th century the Quimbaya culture disappeared entirely due to unknown circumstances.
27 BCE – 395 CE (422 years): The Imperial Roman Empire was the first nation to invent and embody the concept of empire in their two mandates: to wage war and to make and execute laws. They were the most extensive Western empire until the early modern period, and left a lasting impact on Western Europe. The empire split in 395 CE and the Western Roman Empire fell in 476 CE. Many languages, cultural values, religious institutions, political divisions, urban centers, and legal systems can trace their origins to the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire governed and rested on exploitative actions, but for two hundred years they didn't have to conquer anyone (Pax Romana). They took slaves and money from the peripheries to support the imperial center. However, the absolute reliance on conquered peoples to carry out the empire's fortune, sustain wealth, and fight wars would ultimately lead to the collapse of the Roman Empire. The Romans were strong believers in what they called their "civilizing mission". This term was legitimized and justified by writers like Cicero who wrote that only under Roman rule could the world flourish and prosper. This ideology, that was envisioned to bring a new world order, was eventually spread across the Mediterranean world and beyond. People started to build houses like Romans, eat the same food, wear the same clothes and engage in the same cruel games. Even rights of citizenship and authority to rule were granted to people not of Roman or Italian birth. This authority given to people outside of Roman culture is an example of how its empire collapsed, with a strong dependence on "foreign" rulers.
100–800 CE (700 years: The Moche or Mochica culture, Early Chimu flourished in northern Peru with its capital near present-day Moche and Trujillo. They were likely a group of autonomous polities that shared a common elite culture, as seen in the rich iconography and monumental architecture that survived. Moche history may be broadly divided into three periods – the emergence of the Moche culture in Early Moche (100–300 CE), its expansion and florescence during Middle Moche (300–600 CE), and the urban nucleation and subsequent collapse in Late Moche (500–750 CE). The defensive works suggest social unrest, possibly the result of climatic changes, as factions fought for control over increasingly scarce resources.
100–1650 CE (1,550 years): Tairona was a group of chiefdoms in the region of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, South America, which goes back at least to the 1st century CE and had significant demographic growth around the 11th century. In the post population peak recovery, the Tairona 3 phase, the Tairona lived sustainably until all Taironans, except the highland Kogi, were eliminated by determined Spanish efforts at genocide (1600–1650 CE).
100–650 CE (550 years): The Lima culture was an indigenous civilization which existed in modern-day Lima, Peru. This pre-Incan culture, which overlaps with surrounding Paracas, Moche, and Nazca civilizations, was located in the desert coastal strip of Peru. Starting around 600, climatic and environmental changes in the Andean region were brought about by cycles of droughts and El Niño phenomenon. The Lima underwent radical reorganizations and shifting populations in order to compensate for the change in rainfall and water availability. Lima culture was steadily disbanded, and new culture groups developed and dominated Coastal Peru.
224–651 CE (427 years): Sasanian Empire, also called the "Empire of Empires," was the last Iranian empire before the rise of Islam.
250–900 CE (650 years): Mayan Classic period is largely defined as the period during which the lowland Maya raised dated monuments using the Long Count calendar. This period marked the peak of large-scale construction and urbanism, the recording of monumental inscriptions, and demonstrated significant intellectual and artistic development, particularly in the southern lowland regions. The Classic period Maya political landscape has been likened to that of Renaissance Italy or Classical Greece, with multiple city-states engaged in a complex network of alliances and enmities.
300–1000 CE (700 years): The Tiwanaku (Spanish: Tiahuanaco or Tiahuanacu) empire is a Pre-Columbian polity based in western Bolivia, South America that extended into present-day Peru and Chile. Fall preceded by increased elite control of increasing population.
320–550 CE (230 years): The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire, founded by Sri Gupta, and covered much of the Indian subcontinent.
330–1453 CE (1,123 years): Byzantine Empire, Eastern Roman remnant of empire, fell to the Islamic Caliphate.
476 CE (1,581 years): Euro-Sino Empire, Euro beginnings after fall of Western Roman Empire as empire of belief before becoming first industrial global empire which climaxed in Sino region.
500–1000 CE (500 years): The Wari flourished in the south-central Andes and coastal area of modern-day Peru. The Wari culture began to deteriorate around 800 CE. Archaeologists have determined that the city of Wari was dramatically depopulated by 1000 CE. Archaeological evidence shows significant levels of inter-personal violence, suggesting that warfare and raiding increased amongst rival groups upon the collapse of the Wari state structure.
600–1300 CE (700 years): Cahokia was the largest and the most influential urban settlement in the Mississippian culture which developed advanced societies across much of what is now the central and southeastern United States, beginning more than 1000 years before European contact. Cahokia's population, peak estimate 40,000, began to decline during the thirteenth century, and then was abandoned.
600–1600 CE (1,000 years): The Muisca (or Chibcha) civilization flourished in ancient Colombia. The Muisca Confederation 1450–1537 CE (87 years) was a rather loose confederation of different Muisca chiefdoms in the central Andean highlands of present-day Colombia. Population between 300,000 and two million people, one of four advanced civilizations of the Americas (apart from the Aztec, Mayas and Incas. There were developing writing. They were advanced but not war-like, there was no absolute monarch, nor was it an empire-as-usual, because it did not dominate other ethnic groups or peoples. The chiefdoms were united by an empire of belief, a priest class who, unlike monarchs and military rulers, neglected to indulge in vast monument building. The shared military force was for defense, not conquest. Defeated by Spanish conquistadors who encountered them in 1537 and conqued them by 1542.
618–907 CE (289 years): In East Asia, various Celestial empires arose periodically between periods of war, civil war, and foreign conquests. The greatest of them was the Tang Empire.
632–661 CE (29 years): The Rashidun Caliphate expanded from the Arabian Peninsula and swiftly conquered the Persian Empire (633–654 CE) and much of the Byzantine Roman Empire.
650–1377 CE (727 years): In the 7th century, Maritime Southeast Asia witnessed the rise of a Buddhist thalassocracy (sea based empire), the Srivijaya Empire, which thrived for 600 years and was succeeded by the Hindu-Buddhist Majapahit Empire that ruled from the 13th to 15th centuries.
661–750 CE (89 years): The Umayyad Caliphate expanded across North Africa and into the Iberian Peninsula. By the beginning of the 8th century, the Umayyad Caliphate had become the largest empire in history, it would not be surpassed in size until the establishment of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century. In 750 the Caliphate clashed with the Tang China at Talas. By this time only these two Empires stretched between the Atlantic and the Pacific.
681–1018 CE and 1185–1396 CE (548 years): The Bulgarian Empire wherein it acted as a key regional power occurred in two distinct periods: between the seventh and eleventh centuries, and again between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries. The two "Bulgarian Empires" are not treated as separate entities, but rather as one state restored after a period of Byzantine rule over its territory.
800–1470 CE (670 years): The Cara culture flourished in coastal Ecuador. In the 10th century CE, they followed the Esmeraldas River up to the high Andean valley now known as the city San Francisco de Quito. They defeated the local Quitu tribe and set up a kingdom. The combined Quitu-Cara culture was known as the Shyris civilization, or the Caranqui civilization which thrived from 800 CE to the 1470s. The Caras and their allies were narrowly defeated in the epic battles of Tiocajas and Tixán in 1462, by an army of 250,000 led by Túpac Inca, the son of the Emperor of the Incas. After several decades of consolidation, the Kingdom of Quito became integrated into the Incan Empire. In 1534 the remnant Quitu-Cara culture were conquered by the Spanish.
802–1431 CE (629 years): The Khmer Empire, the predecessor state to modern Cambodia, was a powerful Khmer Hindu-Buddhist empire in Southeast Asia. The empire, which grew out of the former kingdoms of Funan and Chenla, at times ruled over and/or vassalised most of mainland Southeast Asia, parts of modern-day Laos, Thailand, and southern Vietnam.
819–999 CE (180 years): The Samanid Empire, also known as the Samanid dynasty, Samanid Emirate, or simply Samanids, was a Sunni Iranian empire.
861–1003 CE (142 years): Saffarid Empire ruled over parts of eastern Iran, with its capital at Zaranj (a city now in southwestern Afghanistan). Khorasan, Afghanistan and Balochistan.
900-1350 CE (450 years): Pueblo culture developed in the Southwest area of today's USA. Chaco Canyon (in present-day New Mexico) was a major regional center. Settlements consist of large pueblos, cliff dwellings, towers and turkey pens. The distinction between the Hohokam and Ancient Pueblo people becomes blurred. The Chaco Canyon center of power and control stopped growing by 1125 CE and elites moved to Mesa Verde area to rebuild empire on new ground. The Mesa Verde population grew until many elites were living in pueblos dependent on outlying small agricultural settlements. Over 40,000 people lived in the Mesa Verde area at its peak, but the area was depopulated by 1290 CE.
900–1470 CE (570 years): The Chimú culture was centered on Chimor, Peru. The Inca emperor Topa Inca Yupanqui led a campaign which conquered the Chimú around 1470.
900–1168 CE (268 years): The Toltec culture is an archaeological Mesoamerican culture that dominated a state centered in Tula, Hidalgo, Mexico in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology. The later Aztec culture saw the Toltecs as their intellectual and cultural predecessors and described Toltec culture emanating from Tōllān as the epitome of civilization
950–1865 CE (915 years): The Tuʻi Tonga Empire or Tongan Empire in Oceania are descriptions sometimes given to Tongan expansionism and projected hegemony which reached its peak during the period 1200–1500. In Oceania, the Tonga Empire was a lonely empire that existed from the Medieval to the Modern period.
962–1806 CE (844 years): The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages. It was neither holy, Roman, nor an Empire.
1037–1194 CE (157 years): The Seljuk Empire or Great Seljuk Empire was a medieval Turko-Persian Sunni Muslim empire, originating from the Qynyq branch of Oghuz Turks.
1077–1231 CE (154 years): Khwarazmian Empire, centered in Khwarezm, was a Persianate Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turkic mamluk origin.
1100–1650 CE (550): Rapa Nui (Easter Island) an island off of Chile in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeastern most point of the Polynesian Triangle, famous for its 887 monumental statues. In the final century population went from maybe 15,000 to 3,000, an 80% die-off.
1204–1261 CE (57 years): Latin Empire: after the Fourth Crusade conquered Constantinople, the crusaders established a Latin Empire in that city. The Empire of Nicaea was the largest of the three Byzantine Greek successor states founded by the aristocracy of the Byzantine Empire that fled after Constantinople was occupied by Western European and Venetian forces during the Fourth Crusade.
1204–1461 CE (257 years): The Empire of Trebizond or the Trapezuntine Empire was a monarchy that flourished during the 13th through 15th centuries, comprising the far northeastern corner of Anatolia and the southern Crimea.
1261–1453 CE (192 years): Constantinople was retaken by the Byzantine successor state centered in Nicaea, re-establishing the Byzantine Empire until 1453, by which time the Turkish-Muslim Ottoman Empire (ca. 1300–1918), had conquered most of the region.
1206–1368 CE (162 years): Mongol Empire in the 13th century. The Mongol Empire emerged from the unification of nomadic tribes in the Mongolia homeland under the leadership of Genghis Khan. A rapid increase in the number of war horses and other livestock significantly enhanced Mongol military strength. Unlike the Indo-Europeans, cattle were not the most important livestock fueling their expansion. Horses, ridden, eaten and milked, were.
1293–1527 CE (234 years): The Majapahit Empire was a vast archipelagic empire based on the island of Java.
1299–1923 CE (624 years): The Ottoman Empire, also known as the Turkish Empire, Ottoman Turkey, or simply Turkey, was an empire founded by Oghuz Turks under Osman I in northwestern Anatolia. The Ottoman Empire was a successor of the Abbasid Empire and it was the most powerful empire to succeed the Abbasi empires at the time, as well as one of the most powerful empires in the world.
1300–1530 CE (230 years): The Tarascan state in pre-Columbian Mexico, roughly covered the geographic area of the present-day Mexican state of Michoacán, parts of Jalisco, and Guanajuato. At the time of the Spanish conquest, it was the second-largest state in Mesoamerica.
1354–1707 CE (353 years): Lan Xang was one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia. The "million elephants under the white parasol."
1370–1507 CE (137 years): The Timurid Empire, self-designated as Gurkani, was a Persianised Turco-Mongol empire comprising modern-day Iran, the Caucasus, Mesopotamia, Afghanistan, much of Central Asia, as well as parts of contemporary Pakistan, Syria, and Turkey.
1427–1519 CE (92 years): The Aztec Empire was a tribute empire based in Tenochtitlan that extended its power throughout Mesoamerica in the late postclassic period. It originated in 1427 as a triple-alliance between the city-states Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan, and was conquered by the Spanish conquistadors.
1438–1572 CE (134 years): The Inca Empire was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century, and the last Inca stronghold was conquered by the Spanish in 1572.
1526–1857 CE (331 years): The Mughal Empire or Mogul Empire, self-designated as Gurkani, was an empire based in the Indian Subcontinent, established and ruled by a Muslim Persianate dynasty of Chagatai Turco-Mongol.
1580–1640 CE (60 years): The Spanish–Portuguese Empire of the Iberian Union was the first global imperial entity.
1583–1815 CE (232 years): The British Empire established their first empire in North America (1583–1783 CE) by colonizing lands that made up British America, including parts of Canada and the Thirteen Colonies. In 1776, the Continental Congress of the Thirteen Colonies declared itself independent from the British Empire, thus beginning the American Revolution. Britain turned towards Asia, the Pacific, and later Africa, with subsequent exploration leading to the rise of the Second British Empire (1783–1815), which was followed by the Industrial Revolution and Britain's Imperial Century (1815–1914). It became the largest empire in world history, encompassing one quarter of the world's land area and one fifth of its population, the impacts of which are still widespread in the current age.
1674–1818 CE (144 years): The Maratha Empire (also known as the Maratha Confederacy) was a Hindu state located in present-day India. It existed from , and at its peak, the empire's territories covered much of Southern Asia. The empire was founded and consolidated by Shivaji. After the death of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, it expanded greatly under the rule of the Peshwas.
1701–1896 CE (195 years): The Ashanti Empire (or Confederacy), also Asanteman, was a West African state of the Ashanti, the Akan people of the Ashanti Region, Akanland in modern-day Ghana. The Ashanti (or Asante) were a powerful, militaristic and highly disciplined people in West Africa. Their military power, which came from effective strategy and an early adoption of European firearms, created an empire that stretched from central Akanland (in modern-day Ghana) to present day Benin and Ivory Coast, bordered by the Dagomba kingdom to the north and Dahomey to the east. Due to the empire's military prowess, sophisticated hierarchy, social stratification and culture, the Ashanti empire had one of the largest historiographies of any indigenous Sub-Saharan African political entity.
1712 CE: Industrial Revolution begins with first commercial steam engine used to pump water from coal mines. The fossil-fueled belief-in-growth based Euro-Sino Empire emerges to subsume all prior empires.
1721–1917 CE (196 years): The Russian Empire in 1866 became the second largest contiguous empire to have ever existed. The Russian Empire was a state that existed until overthrown by the short-lived liberal February Revolution in 1917.
1782–1932 CE (150 years): Siamese Empire or Rattanakosin Kingdom is the fourth traditional center of power in the History of Thailand (or Siam). It was founded with the establishment of Bangkok as the capital city.
1789–1961 CE (172 years): American Empire expands westward and beyond until subsumed by the "Military Industrial Complex" (aka global Euro-Sino Empire of commerce) it was warned about.
1799–1846 CE (47 years): The Sikh Empire was established in the Punjab region of India. The empire collapsed when its founder, Ranjit Singh, died and its army fell to the British.
1804–1814 CE (10 years): The First French Empire was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century.
1852–1870 CE (18 years): The Second French Empire was the Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III.
1868–May 3, 1947 CE (79 years): The Empire of Japan, at its maximum extent in 1942, was the historical Japanese nation-state that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern Japan, part of the Euro-Sino Empire, that serves commercial interests.
1871–1918 CE (47 years): The German Empire, another "heir to the Holy Roman Empire."
2001 CE: IS, Islamic State, a belief based empire committed to conquer the Euro-Sino Empire. Like the 844 year Holy Roman Empire, neither holy, Islamic, nor an Empire-as-usual other than of belief. It may or may not last longer.
2015 CE: FoW, Federation of Watersheds, an evidence based empire ruled by natural law committed to replacing all belief based systems.
Our entire much-praised technological progress, and civilization generally, could be compared to an ax in the hand of a pathological criminal. —Albert Einstein
References: Mostly copied from Wikipedia, so highlight and right click.
History will be in the mind of future historians. If humans stop committing empire, such as by forming a Federation of Watersheds, perhaps 5,000 in number instead of 200 nation-states, having a shared mobile military force to prevent the temporarily stronger from invading the weaker (see above), then Federation historians, unlike those of the 18th - 21st centuries, will not endeavor to normalize patriarchy, wealth inequality, acquisitiveness, war, alpha maleness, growth, elite privilege, conspicuous consumption, destruction of planetary commons, genocide, mass extinction, and empire building.
From the hunter-gatherer POV spanning 300,000 years, the recent 8,000 years of empire building would seem aberrant. If humans transition into a stable and sustainable Federation, living the ecolate life in balance and harmony with nature, then empire building will seem aberrant again.
The current empire is the Euro-Sino Empire dominated by commerce, which subsumed most nation-states by the mid twentieth century. As the first global empire, there are no other upstarts on the planet to conquer it when it weakens other than empires of belief. Like that of the Indus Valley, the Euro-Sino Empire can only collapse from within. Many empires have ended in conquest or internal revolt, but in all cases their fall was the perhaps merciful "kicking in of a rotten door." The weakening may be from excessive elite demands on distant commoners, excessive demands on environmental carrying capacity, or both. "Excessive" equals the endeavor to grow without limit, for the rich to get richer.
The first empires were empires of belief. When agriculture allowed an area to support many more humans than hunter-gatherers, the agriculturalists, whether plant (Mesopotamia, Indus Valley, et al.) or animal based (Indo-Europeans, Mongol), displaced them, like it or not, to become agrarian empires. The large populations supported armies and those agrarian empires who transition to military empires replace those who do not, like it or not. Empires that spread by use or threat of force develop into city-states—political empires that evolve into nation-states whose development climaxed mid-20th century. All empires have been a mix of power: the power of religious belief, economic power, political power, and military force. The Euro-Sino Empire is a global industrial economic empire in that commercial interests dominate religious, political, and military interests.
The power basis for nomadic hunter-gatherers is a small section of environment within a day's walk. In the late Pleistocene the size of nomadic bands was limiting, so only empires of shared belief could develop in the late Pleistocene whose power base is the believing mind. Agriculturalists are initially small tribes depending on local environment for power also, but agriculture may allow the same area to support ten times the population. Hunter-gatherers in an area that can support agriculture (plant or animal based) that do not choose to become farmers/herders, are displaced (genocide/assimilation). Agriculturally developed areas support settled villages that develop into chiefdoms ruled by the stronger chief. Empires of belief join forces with agrarian empire builders.
Agro-powered empires spread throughout the local area that supports agriculture, the power base. Regional agro-politico-religio-belief empires can support mobile armies and navies to develop into city-nation-state building empires. When the Industrial Revolution began, a new power source for empire building arose. Initially fossil-fueled growth strengthened the nation-state empire builders, especially the British Empire as that is where the fossil-fueled industrial society arose to spread throughout Europe then shifted to resource richer America as Europe was used up. As America was increasingly used up in the 20th century, growth shifted to India and China, mainly the Sino region that currently uses over half of the remaining coal resources to grow commercial empire at 7% to 10%, unsustainably doubling their consumption every 7 to 10 years. China is currently importing vast amounts of resources much as America did in the 20th century. Africa and Australia are being used up by the Euro-Sino Empire. When the planet is "taken" there is no Planet B, so without more energy and other resources to exploit, the industrial society, now global, will transition to descent as all prior ones have.
The future is constrained by power and vision. If the first global empire collapses, as the Indus one did, environmental resources will slowly accumulate as nature recovers. There will be no fossil fuels, however, to fuel another industrial empire. Environmental restoration will eventually allow for agro-powered empire building and the pattern of rise and fall can continue.
Alternative to rise and fall is to acquire an illimitable non-fossil fuel power source. Techno-optimists firmly belief this will happen. If so, humanity will continue to grow and after the Milky Way is used up, our Borg-like descendants will endeavor to consume other galaxies.
Alternative to becoming Morlock/Borg-like (see above), humans could become Federation-like. The Kogi, who have transitioned into ecolate humans, are alternative. A sustainable Kogi-like life is possible and alternative to the Borg-like growther culture that has dominated human life for five thousand years. The Federation alternative combines the ecolate lives of our pre-empire building ancestors with technology in studied moderation. The legacy of our overgrowth is the information acquired in the past seven thousand years. Preservation of information and minds able to access it is of highest priority as without it there can be no macroscope. Solar powered IT may be the only high-tech needed or supportable. Without thought there can be no life (sustainable). As Emerson noted, "Things are in the saddle and ride mankind." Alternative is to put a Kogi-like consensus of ecolate thought in the saddle. The dominate humans in the past five thousand years have acted like a bunch of kids with machetes (imagine giving every kid in an elementary school a machete and all adults leave until the next day—in 24 hours no one would starve, but expect fatalities). Humans might do better to defer to human intelligence as best it can be manifested to set limits and provide best-guess direction.