- The Task of World History
- Theories of World History since the Enlightenment
- World Environmental History
- Nomadic pastoralism
- States, State Transformation, and War
- Religions and World History
- Technology, Engineering, and Science
- Advanced Agriculture
- Trade across Eurasia to about 1750
- Biological Exchanges in World History
- Cultural Exchanges in World History
- Pre-modern Empires
- Modern Imperialism
- East Asia and Central Eurasia
- South Asia and Southeast Asia
- The Middle East in World History
- Africa in World History: The Long, Long View
- Europe and Russia in World History
- Mediterranean History
- The Americas, 1450–2000
- The Atlantic Ocean Basin
- Oceania and Australasia
- The pacific Ocean Basin to 1850
Abstract and Keywords
Empire is regularly defined as a political unit of large extent controlling a number of territories and peoples under a single sovereign authority. Of the three criteria, only one, sovereign authority, is quantified. In the early sixteenth century, maritime Europe, starting on its own path to empire, encountered large imperial regimes across the globe — the Ottoman, Safavid, Mughal, Ming, Aztec, and Inca — each of which had an identifiable genealogy and model. To a meaningful degree, global political history is simply the oscillation between universal empires and multi-state systems. In their expansive modes, empires destroyed and created states and were similarly productive in decline, devolving back into smaller polities, some entirely new and others merely refashioned. Standard imperial policies had profound cultural consequences. Population transfers, garrisons, and colonies produced close encounters, while secure lines of communications and interest in things foreign produced long-distance exchange.
Thomas T. Allsen is Professor Emeritus of History at the College of New Jersey.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.