posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 12:46 PM
I kind of came into theis conversation late, but after reading a few pages I should be informed enough to make this responce.
Empires have risen and fallen throughout history, with circumstance directing when and how it fell, but the success of how long an Empire lasted
usually depended on certain things.
The ability of the Empire to organize its population, to maintain a census, organize an effective and well trained standing peace time army.
And the ability to merge and assimilate various conquered ethnic groups and keep them "Romanized" for centuries at a time, destroying national
identity, language, and culture in order to assure that they remain homogeneous with the culture that overpowered them, with few exceptions.
And thirdly the ability to maintain a large economy that can evolve through changing circumstances, the method of government is irrelevant for as long
as it can change with the times as well.
There have been in history only 5 "True" Empires that not only fall under these definitions but were also moderately successful enough to go in the
The Roman Empire. circa 753 BC to 476 AD (the Fall of Rome under Romulus Augustus).
The British Empire and its Common Wealth: (uncertain of the date but I’d date it at the British victory at the Plains of Abraham 1759).
The American Empire. Circa 1774-present
The Empire of the Russia's from the rise of Muscovy to the fall of the USSR.
And finally, the most successful Empire has been China.
Why these five? It is simple, and I'll take a page from Orson Scott Card, there is a concept I've heard about it and this is it. A nation can be
fundamentally described in 2 ways: Edge nations, and Center nations, Center nations are nations who have after wars to secure their hinterland become
a dominant regional power and through a arrogance of culture maintain a "central outlook" on the world and have the opinion that everyone wants to
be just like them, center nations are usually large and successful Empires who frequent few wars and whose culture, ideals, and history will have a
lasting effect through millennia.
Center nations also have a large enduring culture, and when invaded can either easily fend off the invasion or endure the invasion and swallow the
enemy into their own culture.
Edge Nations, are nations on the edge of the center, who feel like the under dogs, feel like they've been denied their rightful place and usually
always try to gain it by the sword.
Edge nations on occasion conquer territory and by luck or their own innovation keep their territory and become Edge nations themselves (Rome, Russia),
however most of the time Edge Nations fail and with usually catastrophic results (Japan/WWII).
The 5 I've mentioned are Center Nations, or were edge nations that became Center. While at least most of them had fallen at one time or another
they're influence lives on thus proving the Centerness of them. Britain conquered a massive area through the subjugation of native peoples with
advanced weaponry or through negotiations with foreign powers, sometimes it was just through the foundation of protectorates. While the actual worth
of most of those lands actually varies considerably, the achievements during England’s occupation of those areas deserve praise. An example would be
the setting up of a considerable infrastructure in the Indian Sub Continent with universities and courts of laws, the establishment of Hong Kong as a
major business center, Singapore, South Africa, Canada etc.
Though England through fault of their own or circumstance eventually gave away most of its Empire (they could of kept it but only at great cost to
themselves), collapsed mostly because they're Empire was too great and the debts too great to maintain a navy big enough to take on any two other
The Romans were the second most successful, by creating one of the first great bureaucracies capable of actually maintaining an Empire in the wake of
constant military advancement of retreat, incompetent Emperors and a corrupt senate, the Roman Empire through a very tolerant view of the religious
beliefs of conquered peoples. and the existence of varying forms of citizenship and with a society that rewards good work with freedom, the Roman
Empire did a phenomenal job at running itself. However such an Empire got too big even for itself and lacking its own "glasnost" it could not
possibly reform itself in time to changing conditions and barbarian invasions.
The Empire of all the Russia's... Czarist Russia lasted from the reign of Czar Ivan the Terrible to the break up of the Soviet Union. It had
effectively through the Russofication of the Asiatic, and European tribes it had conquered, through the importing of western ideas, and the economic
development of Russia in the periods of Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and Stalin allowed Russia to dominate its area of the Old World's
landmass for a long long time.
The effect of the Orthodox Church, the Influence of the Russian school of military thought, the very strength and diversity of Russian culture allowed
it to not only conquer and dominate its way to global power but also to merge and assimilate (somewhat successfully) all the various ethnic groups
until the Break up of the Soviet Union when all the various Republics wanted to affirm their Independence, once and for all.
America is truly a testimony to what an Empire truly is, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, America through a few bitter wars managed to not only secure
its hinterland, but also managed through its own policies of democracy was able to successfully transform itself into a center nation, arrogant enough
to believe that everyone wants to be just like them, resisting invasion successfully, and with a resilient enough economy to balance home grown
problems and maintain the arms race simultaneously.
But America's greatest success is how quickly and successfully America managed to turn every immigrant family that lands in America into true
American's in under a generation is astounding, and thanks to all that America in the 90's was an Empire in its prime but alas, America is easily in
its decline, with a massive debt reminiscent of the Reagan Era, with wars every few years costing billions per year America's fall is imminent.
However, considering the times it won't be catastrophic though, the best that could happen is that America falls into decline and hangs back,
considering that Empires that try to hold onto power end up doing terrible things in the hopes of holding onto an illusion of power.
And finally, the most successful, yet the most unique case is Zhongguo [joong-gwor] meaning literally "The Middle Kingdom" or called China from the
roots of the Qing Dynasty.
China I believe was the most successful because like any Center Nation had secured its hinterland (See the First Emperor (Qin Shi Huang) on
Wikipedia)) when it first Unified under the Qin, and it maintained a largely homogeneous population "Han Chinese" throughout history, through the
colonization and farming of new lands, the conquest and assimilation of new people's.
Proof that China is easily a center nation if the fact that the Mongols became Chinese themselves under Kublai Khan until they were overthrown and a
new dynasty founded and since then Mongolia has been considered as part of China at one time or another.
Thus through the assimilation and merging of different people's and the establishment of a central authority and bureaucracy, and through evolving of
Chinese culture and language to what it is today all point to China to have been the largest and single most coherent national entity in the world,
through command language and currency, history, resisting of Barbarian invasions, China has not only maintained its Independence and Culture but the
very essence and ideals that made China "All Under Heaven" for us.
China, to date has never been conquered and assimilated into another culture but instead when defeated simply buys or assimilates the invader, China
has won and lost wars but mostly won them when it was important to win them. China has avoided colonization through the replacement of the old and
obslete Imperial family the "Manchu" and after defeating the KMT for the leadership of the country the CCP now is leader China to a new century,
China is evolving constantly and will once more reach greatness soon, the thoughts of a few ignorant and lofty intellectuals changes nothing. History
is guided by the People, and nothing can change that.
So in conclusion stop spouting nonesense, stop spouting propoganda drivel, and stop thinking that because you wish it so you'll change it so.