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The Rise and Fall Of European Empires Throughout History

Multiple factors contributed to the rise of empires in Europe. One factor is the expanding population that triggered the Europeans to migrate to find better homes outside the continent. The need for trade and search for raw materials are also contributing factors that would make the empire venture far and wide to fulfill. Competition among European countries increases the empire’s desire to conquer more territories to achieve world power. And lastly, religion and the desire to spread Christianity in all parts of the globe.

The Holy Roman Empire centered on the city of Rome. It expanded its territory to North Africa, Greece, and the Iberian Peninsula. Soon after it dominated the rest of France, the empire dissolved due to external and internal forces and circumstances.

The Roman/ Byzantine Empire centered in Constantinople that is now Istanbul. Constantinople have risen to power and considered, The New Rome. In the heights of its invasions, it conquered Africa, Asia, and Europe that totaled more than a million square miles in parts. The empire and its people enjoyed a strong and powerful economy until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

The fall of the Roman Empire has brought about massive changes in the European landscape. After periods of distress, several countries in Europe have risen to colonize almost the entire globe. The rise of the European Empires has brought wealth and glory to the continent. While spreading their influence across the world, they have brought about the diffusion of cultures among its colonies.

The British Empire covered almost a quarter of the entire world’s land area. At its height, they had their colonies in Northern America, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, South Asia, and Antarctica. A few years after the Suez Crisis or the Second Arab–Israeli war, the British Empire fell from great power status.

The French Empire established the first New World colonies, namely, New Scotland and Quebec. It expanded its territories to North America, the Caribbean, and India. However, after Napoleon’s defeat, France has ceased its claim to these colonies.

The Portuguese Empire started its humble beginnings from a small European country to become the first empire in history to extend its colony globally. It was during the 15th century when its exploration started and spread to Brazil and regions of Africa and Asia. The empire’s long friendship and union with Spain had its benefits. However, it also accelerated to its downfall. The Portuguese Empire’s fortunes decreased to a great extent after involving in warfares with Spain’s opponents.

The Spanish Empire and colonial expansion started in 1496 during the Age of Exploration. This empire had a total of 35 colonies all over the world. Its irrefutable naval power contributed to its success. The decline of the empirical power started in the Dutch revolt that was followed by several defeats in their wars against France and the Anglo-Spanish war.

The fall of these European Empires is a result of multiple contributing factors and it did not happen overnight. It was triggered by the weakening of its military defense, the health and welfare of its citizens including in the colonies, the weakening of its economy, political capabilities, and the rise of other empires.