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empire

An empire is a geographically extensive group of diverse states and peoples (ethnic groups) united and ruled by a central authority, either by a monarch (emperor, empress) or an oligarchy. The term empire is derived from the Latin term imperium (a rule, a command; authority, control, power; supreme power, sole dominion; military authority; a dominion, realm), the ‘ruling’ of territories that are far beyond the homeland. Aside from the more formal usage, the term “empire” can also be used to describe a large-scale business enterprise (e.g., a transnational corporation), a political organisation controlled by a single individual (a political boss) or a group (political bosses). The term empire is associated with other words such as imperialism, colonialism, and globalization. Empire is often used to describe a displeasure to overpowering situations. The effects of imperialism exist throughout the world today. An imperial political structure can be established and maintained in two ways: (i) as a territorial empire of direct conquest and control with force or (ii) as a coercive, hegemonic empire of indirect conquest and control with power. The former method provides greater tribute and direct political control, yet limits further expansion because it absorbs military forces to fixed garrisons. The latter method provides less tribute and indirect control, but avails military forces for further expansion. Territorial empires (e.g., the Mongol Empire and Median Empire) tend to be contiguous areas. The term, on occasion, has been applied to maritime empires or thalassocracies, (e.g., the Athenian and British empires) with looser structures and more scattered territories. Empires are usually larger than kingdoms. This aspiration to universality resulted in conquest by converting ‘outsiders’ or ‘inferiors’ into the colonialized religion. This association of nationality and race became complex and has had a more intense drive for expansion.