World General Knowledge

Important Dynasties and Empires of the World

Important Dynasties and Empires of the World
Written by CSS Times

Abbasid Dynasty

Abbasid Dynasty was the second of the two great dynasties of the Muslim Empire of the Caliphate. It overthrew the Umayyad caliphate in AD 750 and reigned as the `Abbasid caliphate until destroyed by the Mongol invasion in 1258. The name is derived from that of the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, al-`Abbas (died c. 653), of the Hashimite clan of the Quraysh tribe in Mecca. From c. 718, members of his family worked to gain control of the empire, and won much support, especially from Shi’i Arabs and Persians in Khorasan. Open revolt in 747, under the leadership of Abu Muslim, led to the defeat of Marwan II, the last Umayyad caliph, at the Battle of the Great Zab River (750) in Mesopotamia and to the proclamation of the first `Abbasid caliph, Abu al-`Abbas as-Saffah. In 1055 the ‘Abbasids were overpowered by the Seljuks who took what temporal power may have been left to the caliph but respected his position as religious leader, restoring the authority of the caliphate, especially during the reigns of al-Mustarshid (1118-35), al-Muqtafi, and an-Nasir. Soon after, in 1258, the dynasty fell during a Mongol siege of Baghdad.


British Empire

British Empire was the name given to the overseas possessions acquired by Britain over a period of 400 years. The Empire really began with the founding of colonies in North America in the early 17 century. In the 18th century Britain won Canada and India from the French, but lost the 13 American colonies. After the Nepoleonic Wars, Britain acquired new possession in the West Indies, and later in the 19th century, emigration to Australia and New Zealand began. New colonies were also created in Africa.


Byzantine Empire

Byzantine Empire is the name given to the eastern part of the Roman empire after the Empire was divided into two parts in AD 395. Its capital was Constantipole. At its greatest extent the Empire included the Balkan peninsula, southern Italy, Asia Minor and North Africa. It survived long after the fall of the western Roman Empire, but gradually declined under the assaults of its enemies. It finally collapsed when the Ottoman Turks captured Constantipole in 1453.


Fatimid Dynasty

Fatimid Dynasty was the political and religious dynasty that dominated an empire in North Africa and subsequently in the Middle East from AD 909 to 1171 and tried unsuccessfully to oust the `Abbasid caliphs as leaders of the Islamic world. It took its name from Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, from whom the Fatimids claimed descent.


Gupta dynasty

Gupta dynasty was North Indian dynasty that ruled from A.D. 320 to 550, a period that produced some of the finest Indian art and literature. From a small area in the Ganges valley their power spread out to most of India, and under Chandragupta II (385-414) scholarship, law, and art reached new heights. The White Hun invasion (450) reduced the Gupta empire to a portion of Bengal.


Han dynasty

Han dynasty was a dynasty that ruled China 202 B.C. 220 A.D. It was founded by Liu Bang after a period of oppressive centralized rule under the Ch’in dynasty. At the height of its expansion, the Han dynasty held power from Korea and Vietnam to Uzbekistan. It was during this period that Confucianism became the official ideology of the state and Buddhism was introduced in China.


Holy Roman Empire

Holy Roman Empire was a loose federation of central European states roughly covering the area occupied by Germany, Austria, Switzerland and northern Italy, although its boundaries shifted from time to time. It was considered to be a continuation of the western part of the ancient Roman Empire. The empire was founded by the German King, Otto, I who ascended the thron in 936. He had himself crowned Emperor in 962, and after that all emperors were to be elected by German princes. The empire gradually lost much of its territory and had real power only when it was ruled by exceptionally strong Emperors. It was weakened by the reformation and the Thirty Years’ War and was finally abolished by Napoleon in 1806.


Ikhshidids Dynasty

Ikhshidids Dynasty was the Muslim Turkish dynasty from Fergana to Central Asia that ruled Egypt and Syria from 935 to 969. The founder was Muhammad ibn Tughj.


Lodhi Dynasty

Lodhi Dynasty (1451-1526) was the last ruling family of the Delhi sultanate of India. This dynasty was of Afghan origin. The first Lodi ruler was Bahlul Lodhi (reigned 1451-89), the most powerful of the Punjab chiefs, who replaced the last king of the Sayyid dynasty in 1451.


Mauryan Empire

Mauryan Empire (c. 321-185 BC), in ancient India was a state centred at Pataliputra (later Patna) near the junction of the Son and Ganges rivers. In the wake of Alexander the Great’s death, Candra Gupta, its dynastic founder, carved out the majority of an empire that encompassed most of the subcontinent except for the Tamil south. The Mauryan empire was an efficient and highly organized autocracy with a standing army and civil service. This bureaucracy and its operation was the model for the Artha-shastra (“Treatise on the Aims of Life”), a work of political economy similar in tone and scope to Machiavelli’s The Prince.
Much is known of the reign of the Buddhist Mauryan emperor Ashoka (reigned c. 265-238 BC, or c. 273-232 BC) from the exquisitely executed stone edicts that he had erected throughout his realm. These comprise some of the oldest deciphered original texts of India. Ashoka campaigned little to expand the realm; rather, his conquest consisted of sending many Buddhist emissaries throughout Asia and commissioning some of the finest works of ancient Indian art.


Mongol Empire

Mongol Empire was founded in the early 13th century by Genghis Khan (1167-1227). Superb horse-riders and archers, the Mongols of Central Asia were united into a well-disciplined, highly mobile army that conquered northern China by 1215 and then swept west through the Middle East and southern Russia, establishing a vast empire with its capital at Karakorum, in Mongolia. After Genghis Khan’s death, the Mongol invasions were continued under his son Ogotai. Mongol general Batu Khan, a grandson of Genghis Khan destroyed Baghdad seat of the Abbasid caliphate in 1258. The Mongol troops had a reputation for great cruelty, in particular when attacking and destroying cities. By about 1260 the Empire was organized into four Khanates, centered in Persia, southern Russia, Turkestan, and China. Kublai Khan’s rule in China (1260-94) saw the foundation of the Yuan Dynasty. The Mongol tradition of conquest was revived by Tamerlane in the 14th century and by Babur (founder of the Mughal Empire) in the 16th century.


Mughal Empire

Mughal Empire was Indian empire which ruled the subcontinent for over 300 years (1526-1857), with a brief interval under the Sur sultans (1540-1555). Of these three centuries, for some 150 years (1556-1707), under Akbar and his immediate successors, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, and Aurangzeb, the empire enjoyed a notably strong and efficient administration. Babur, a Central Asian Chaghtai Turk, founded the empire in 1526 after he had defeated the Lodhi ruler of Delhi, Ibrahim.


Ottoman Empire

Ottoman Empire was an empire created by Turkish tribes in Anatolia that lasted from the decline of the Byzantine Empire in the 14th century until the establishment of Turkey as a republic in 1922. It was named for Usman, an emir (prince) in Bithynia who began the conquest of neighbouring regions and who founded the empire’s dynasty around 1300. Decline accelerated in the 18th century, which saw the decay of rural administration into small, feudal-like states and increased unrest in the cities, disrupting food supplies and leading to widespread famine. By the accession of Mahmud II in 1808, the Ottoman situation appeared worst. Local authorities openly opposed the central government, while the empire was at war with both England and Russia. In 1878 by the Treaty of San Stefanoand negotiations at the Congress of Berlin, the empire was forced to give up Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and other territories. The Balkan wars of 1912-13 all but completed the empire’s expulsion from Europe. After defeat in World War I and a revolution immediately after, the 36th and final Ottoman emperor, Mehmed VI Vahitettin, was overthrown in 1922 and modern Turkey was formed.


Persian Empire

Persian Empire was founded in 549 BC by Cyrus the Great. In the 6th century BC Cyrus became King of the Persians while they were still a small tribe and persuaded them to overthrow their overlords the Meeds. Within a few years he had freed Persia completely and went to on to found a vast empire. Before his death in 530 BC he had conquered Anatolia (Asia Minor), Babylon, Syria and Palestine. Under his son, Cambyses, the empire was extended to include Egypt. Darius I brought Thrace into the empire and pushed its boundary as far as northwestern India, but failed in his efforts to conquer the Greeks. The empire finally collapsed in 331 BC when it was attacked by Alexander the Great.


Roman Empire

Roman Empire was the period in the history of ancient Rome from 27 BC when Octavian became absolute ruler as Augustus, with the title Emperor, until AD 476 when the last Emperor was desposed. As a republic, Rome was already the dominant power in the Mediterranean world and had conquered Gaul and Asia Minor. augustus pushed Rome’s frontiers to the Rhine and the Danube, and created an efficient government which ensured peace and prosperity for the many people under Roman rule. The Empire reached its greatest extent in the 2nd century AD. In the 3rd century it began to decline, partly as a result of the attacks of barbarian tribes and partly because of a breakdown in administration. In 395 the Empire was divided into two parts. The eastern half became the Byzantine Empire, while the western half eventually collapsed under successive waves of invasions.


Sayyid Dynasty

Sayyid Dynasty comprised the rulers of India’s Delhi sultanate (c. 1414-51) as successors of the Tughluq dynasty until displaced by the Afghan Lodhis; this family claimed to be sayyids, or descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. The central authority of the Delhi sultanate had been fatally weakened by the invasion of Timur (Tamerlane) and his sack of Delhi in 1398. The first Sayyid ruler of Delhi was Khizr Khan (reigned 1414-21), who had been governor of the Punjab. Bahlul Lodhi, ruler of the Punjab, seized Delhi in 1451 and inaugurated the Lodhi Sultanate, the last dynasty of the Delhi sultanate.


Tang dynasty

Tang dynasty (rulers of China from A.D. 618 to 907) The Tang period is regarded as the golden age of Chinese civilization by many historians. During this period, Tang rulers centralized the government and unified the country. The capital city, Chang’an (now Xian), served as a worldwide centre for scholarship and the arts. During this time, the Chinese invented block printing and produced the first block-printed book (A.D. 868). An 80-year war with the Tibetans in northwestern China, coupled with years of internal fighting, weakened the Tang dynasty, and it came to an end in 907.


Umayyad

Umayyad was the first great Muslim dynasty to rule the Empire of the Caliphate (AD 661-750), sometimes referred to as the Arab kingdom. The Umayyads, headed by Abu Sufyan, were a largely merchant family of the Quraysh tribe centred at Mecca. They had initially resisted Islam, not converting until 627, but subsequently became prominent administrators under Muhammad (PBUH) and his immediate successors. In the first Muslim civil war (Fitnah; 656-661) __ the struggle for the caliphate following the murder of Hazrat Usman, the third caliph (reigned 644-656)–Abu Sufyan’s son Mu’awiyah, then governor of Syria, emerged victorious over `Hazrat Ali and then established himself as the first Umayyad caliph. In 749 the Hashimiyah, aided by the western provinces, proclaimed as caliph Abu al-`Abbas as-Saffah, who thereby became first of the `Abbasid dynasty. The last Umayyad, Marwan II (reigned 744-750), was defeated at the Great Zab River (750). Members of the Umayyad family were killed, but one of the survivors, `Abd ar-Rahman, escaped and established himself as a Muslim ruler in Spain (756), founding the dynasty of the Umayyads of Cordoba.


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