Largest empires by land area for context the total land area of the earth is 148940000 km 2 57506000 sq mi empires at their greatest extent empire size in this list is defined as the dry land area it controls. The portuguese empire was the first global empire in history as well as the longest lived modern european colonial empires the empire began with the capture of ceuta in 1415 and ended in 1999 . British empire british empire a worldwide system of dependencies colonies protectorates and other territories that over a span of some three centuries was brought under the sovereignty of the crown of great britain and the administration of the british government learn more about the british empire in this article. Great britain the british empire was the largest empire in human history whose greatest extent during its zenith was in the 1920s ce the empire consisted of mandates protectorates colonies dominions and other territories administered and controlled by the uk and its forerunner states
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