What is the best Military in world history?

Obviously modern armies would make quick work of any ancient military, but I am judging an Army based on how well they dominated in their time. Brilliant strategists like Hannibal of Carthage and Napoleon are not listed because they lost wars and did not sustain an empire. They would be listed among the greatest commanders of all time along with Alexander, Julius Caesar, and Attila. An Empire builder is a politician, strategist, economist, and leader. The rise of an empire that is sustained throughout time is the real legacy of a great military. Here is a list of the most dominant militaries of their day. The dates listed are the peak of power.


Egypt 1274 B.C. The rise of Egypt as a world power was steady over two thousand years. Egypt was basically a set of villages that defended the fertile Nile River Valley on both sides from foreigners trying to settle there. The invasion of Egypt by the Hyskos (Syria) in 17th Century B.C. led to the formation of a standing army and the beginning of the New Empire. The major advance in weapons technology and warfare began around 1600 BC when the Egyptians fought and finally defeated the Hyksos people. It was during this period the horse and chariot were introduced into Egypt. They fought wars against powerful Near Eastern kingdoms like Mitanni, the Hittites, the Assyrians and Babylonians. The Battle of Kadesh (1274) took place between the forces of Ramesses II (The same guy that killed all the Jewish Babies)and the Hittites of Muwatalli II at the city of Kadesh, in modern Syria. Egypt was ambushed crossing the Orontes River and routed. Egypt lost control of the Middle East and allowed the rise of Assyrians.

Assyrians 612 B.C. Assyria is considered to be the worlds first Empire. They competed with Babylonia and Egypt for dominance in the Middle East for centuries. They took control of Babylonia in 703 B.C. They destroyed all of Israel and enslaved the population. The tiny Kingdom of Judea was surrounded and just when it seemed that Jerusalem would fall, the Assyrian Army was infected with the plague and retreated. In 701 B.C. they faced a coalition of Egyptian, Phoenician, Philistine, and Jewish armies and crushed them all. They went on to conquer Egypt in 671 B.C. Upon King Ashurbanipal’s death in 627 BC, the empire began to disintegrate rapidly. The Assyrian Capital city of Nineveh was sacked by Babylonians in 612 B.C. and all Assyrian territory was over run by the Persian Empire by 609 B.C.

Persia 480 B.C. The Persians conquered all of southern Asia (the “stan” countries) up to the boarders of China and India. They held all of the middle east including, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Holy Land. They invaded Europe, and conquered Thrace up to the Danube River. The Greek War devastated the vast numbers of Persian troops. Even though they defeated Sparta and Athens, the loss in the naval battle of Salamis to the combined Greek Fleet led to the withdrawal of Persia from Europe. If the Persians held the Greek cities, western civilization would have been very different.

Macedonia 323 BC: Alexander never lost a battle in 12 years of constant war. Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, including Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, Gaza, Egypt, Bactria, and Mesopotamia, and extended the boundaries of his own empire as far as Punjab, India. Alexander’s victory over vastly superior Persia forces at the battle of Gaugamela is one of the most important and innovative battles in history. Persian chariots, which were unstoppable up to this point, were considered obsolete after Alexander’s tactics obliterated Persian Chariots. Prior to his death at age 33, Alexander had already made plans for military and mercantile expansions into the Arabian peninsula, after which he was to turn his armies to the west (Carthage, Rome, and Spain). Alexander’s battle strategies and system of governing were closely studied and implemented into the Roman Republic.

Roman Republic 49 B.C. By the first century B.C. Rome controlled every inch of shore touching the Mediterranean as well as Britain and Gaul (modern France). Julius Caesar defeated a combined Gallic Army and held the Governorship of Gaul at the same time as being consul of Rome. The senate thought he had too much power, and they ordered him to disband his army and return to Rome to stand trial for violations of the constitution. He entered Rome with his army and Civil War led to the eventual downfall of the Roman Republic.

Roman Empire 117: Rome was a world power for so long that it is tough to come up with the peak of power. The largest territory was in 117 under Emperor Trajan when Armenia, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia were conquered from the Parthian Empire. Trajan’s successor Hadrian abandoned the middle east because he did not believe they could defend the cities so far from Rome. They defeated Germania in several wars, but were never able to maintain a hold north of the Rhine River. They were smart enough to avoid land wars in Asia because they understood supply lines and communication. Rome was founded in 1000 B.C. and the eternal city officially fell in 476 but the empire continued in Constantinople until 1453, when the Ottoman Turks captured the city.

Middle Ages

Huns 453: Attila united central Asian nomads into an elite mobile fighting force that raided cities and left them in ashes. Three Norse sagas depict Attila as a hero and his tactics may have influenced the Vikings. The Huns territory stretched from China (The Great Wall) to Germany, and from the Baltic to the Danube River in Eastern Europe. They pushed the Goths, Vandals, and many other Germanic tribes into Roman territory . Rome had to defend the entire border of the empire, so they were stretched too thin. Rome had to ally with the Germanic tribes and provide them with weapons, food, land, etc to guard against Hunnic plundering. Eventually, Rome granted Attila land to settle on, modern day Hungary, and paid him a tribute in Gold. When the Emperor Valentinian’s sister Honoria proposed to Attila, he invaded Italy to claim half of the Roman Empire as dowry. Attila was defeated at Chalons, France by a combined Roman, Gothic Army. He returned the next year and invaded Italy. Northern Roman provinces left their homes to live in on the many small islands in the Venetian lagoon which became the city of Venice. In 452, Pope Leo I pleaded with Attila to spare Rome, and he agreed leaving Italy. He died in 453 before he could capture Constantinople. Although the Roman Empire officially fell in 476, the Fall of Rome was Attila the Hun’s doing.

Arab Empire 743: The Umayyad dynasty under caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik marked the greatest extent of the Muslim empire. Their rule stretched from Spain to India. They controlled Spain, North Africa, The Middle east, Persia and western India (Pakistan). The Muslims were defeated at the battle of Tours in Spain by Frankish King Charles Martel. This was the end of Islamic expansion into Western Europe. Hisham continued fighting the Byzantine Empire in Asia Minor and the Near East. They forced religious conversions of Pagans. Surprisingly, they allowed Christians and Jews to practice their faith, although they were placed into a higher tax bracket. Before the Crusades, the Muslims respected Christians and Jews rights to worship because they believe in the same God.

Holy Roman Empire 814: Charles I, King of the Franks or Charlemagne was crowned the first holy roman emperor on December 25, 800. He conquered most of Europe and converted all lands to Roman Catholicism through force if necessary. The conquest of Spain eventually pushed the Islamic Moors out of Europe. The Roman Catholics dominated Europe for the next 700 years until the protestant reformation caused several nations to split with the Holy Roman Empire. The empire formed by Charlemagne lasted until 1806 when the last emperor Francis II was defeated by Napoleon.

Byzantine Empire 1054: The Re-conquest of Crete and Cyprus and the expansion into Syria and Northern Iraq extended the Byzantine power throughout the Eastern Mediterranean again. The empire stretched from Armenia to Southern Italy. They defeated the Bulgarian empire and controlled all of the Balkans up to the borders with Hungary. The split of the Catholic and Orthodox Church in 1054 caused weakening relations with Rome. New enemies emerged as Normans invaded southern Italy, and the Turks conquered Armenia and Asia Minor. The Empire lasted until 1453 when the Turks captured the capital city of Constantinople.

The Vikings may have been the most fearsome group in the 9th-11th centuries, but they were not united under one ruler, and can not really be considered one military group. They did however control land from the Arctic to Baghdad, and North America (500 years before Columbus) to The Black Sea and everywhere in between. They conquered parts of France, Spain, Italy, and all of England in 1066 (the last successful invasion of England). The Russian Czars all the way up to present day Russians are Viking decedents. Nationalism in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, as well as Christianization of settlements led to the end of the Viking Age.

Mongols 1279: Genghis Kahn’s grandson Kublai Kahn ruled the largest contiguous empire in world history. China (The Great wall did not work again), Russia, most of the Middle East, and Eastern Europe fell to the Mongols. They were fighting the the German Teutonic Knights, and the Japanese Samurai at the same time! How would things be different today if the Mongols did not turn back at Vienna and instead rode through Western Europe? The enlightenment may not have happened for a few hundred more years. After they left Europe, they conquered Korea from the Japanese Shogun, then tried unsuccessfully to invade Japan in 1281. Japan was saved from the Mongol fleet by a sudden violent storm that destroyed many of the invading ships. The Japanese called the storm Kamikaze, (the divine wind). Unity of the Mongol tribes was never as strong following the defeat. In 1368 China revolted and pushed out the Mongols (Yuan) to form the Ming dynasty.

Ottoman Empire: 1566: Suleiman the magnificent conquered Belgrade and the Kingdom of Hungary as well as most of central Europe. He laid siege to Vienna but failed to take the city. In the East, they captured Baghdad from the Persians and controlled all of the Middle East from Mesopotamia to Egypt. With access to the Persian Gulf, they developed the worlds best Navy. The empire expanded by defeating Spain and conquering Algeria and Tunisia. The Turks actually evacuated Jews from Christian Lands during the inquisition and returned them to safety in the Ottoman controlled Holy Land. Continued wars with Austria, Persia, and the newly emerging European powers weakened the empire. The Ottomans lasted until 1919 when British helped unite the Arabs and Iraq to fight against Turkish rule during WWI. The British and French then took control of all former Ottoman regions. Ottoman remnants settled in Asia Minor, which eventually became the nation of Turkey. The Balkan provinces were given their independence, but Britain governed Egypt, Palestine, Arabia, Iraq, and Iran until stable governments could be put in place. Sound familiar?

British Empire 1783: British had control of the all of the world’s oceans. Australia, India, Southeast Asia, Africa, North and South America and everywhere in between were controlled by the British. They were mainly a naval power, but still, the American Revolution was histories greatest upset. The British fought wars on six continents and four Oceans simultaneously. The loss of America in 1783 did little to hurt British interests world wide. India and Burma were granted independence. Britain granted parliamentary control of South Africa, Australia, and Canada to the local people who agreed to maintain loyal to the British Monarchy. The influences of British colonialism formed the modern world as we know it.

Modern Era

Russian Empire 1856: After the defeat of Napoleon in 1812, Russia was considered militarily invincible. They controlled the territory from The Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea, and the Arctic Ocean in the North to the Caucus Mountains in the South. The empire spanned over 6000 miles and 11 time zones. The advance south into Ukraine and dominance of the Black Sea led to the Crimean war. The first modern war was fought by a joint force of France, Britain, Sardinia and the Ottoman Empire against Russia. Even though Russia dominated the war, Russian Czar Nicholas I agreed to a peace treaty that severely weakened Russian influence in Europe. The peace settlement of the Crimean war actually led to WWI.

Third Reich 1942: I am breaking my rule about a long lasting empire here, but the Germans became so powerful so fast that they deserve mention. It took Russia, Britain, France, and the United States to break the German military machine. They conquered France in 40 days, along with most of Europe. The two front war and loss of Air and Sea supremacy weakened the Germans. The key to the turnaround was the Greek resistance. They held out fighting man to man in the streets for 10 months. That allowed the allies to regroup and the Russian Red Army was formed. If not for the Greek resistance, Hitler would have certainly captured western Russia. Then he could have turned west and taken Britain before America was entrenched there. It would have been a very different war after that!

USSR 1989: This great military machine never went to war, but instead fought and lost the cold war with the U.S.A. If China and Russia could have avoided a split in ideology in the 1950’s, communism could have spread throughout the world forcing an eventual war with the NATO allies along the Eastern Bloc lines. Nuclear war was far from likely although it was the great deterrent.

USA 2008: Combat troops are spread from Korea to Iraq. Firm control of land, air and sea as well as outer space make the American Empire the most dominant the world has ever seen. Iraq, The world’s 4th largest Army at 600,000 troops lasted 4 days against the U.S. in 1991.


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90 Responses to “What is the best Military in world history?”

  1. atmanb Says:


  2. cyprus tax Says:

    interesting line of thought..

  3. bobby Says:

    I dont like it but nazis did had the best military of all time because it took 4 superpowers to take it down russia,england,france also the us and had a better economy and the best tanks and planes and if they would exist today they would be the most powerful nation in the world even better then the us.

    • Sam Says:

      Truthfully the Nazi’s didn’t fight alone and had a great advantage. Remember they began a massive rearmament programme in 1935 and because they weren’t allowed to have tanks or planes as a result of The Treaty of Versailles. This meant the Germans could develop the more advanced tanks and planes as they weren’t relying on old piles of rubbish like all the other European nations (except France); but they developed their tanks with radios unlike the French which is why their Blitzkreig of France was so successful(that and the French didn’t want to see the Eifell tower destroyed so they decided to put a Swastika on it). The adoption of the Blitzkreig tactic allowed a quick decisive victory in Poland, Belgium, Holland, France and they got within 100 miles of Moscow. Along with the anschluss with Austria in 1936 and the alliance with Mussolini’s Italy and the Japanese Empire while the British and French weren’t arming up anywhere near as much as the German’s as Chamberlain believed that in 1938 after the Munich Agreement he had bought peace in our time, when actually all he done was made it easier for Hitler to conquer Europe. If the allies were to have acted in 1935 while the Germans were rearming they could’ve beaten Germany quickly and decisevely. But remember Britain and France feared Communism more so they wanted Germany to be an ally against Communism so it could stand in the way of France and Britain if Lenin (and later Stalin) decided to expand the USSR. The Nazi’s only conquered so much because the British and French appeased to Germany’s so much that they’re military were able to become extremely strong in number and technology. If the allies had acted when Hitler began his rearmament programme then the British Empire and French Colonial Empire could’ve easily crushed Germany. The Blitzkrieg tactic was the biggest reason to conquer so much of Europe in such a short time giving Britain and France no time to prepare for a German attack or counter it well enough to bring the advance to a hault.

    • Mert Says:

      It actualy took more than 4 superpowers to bring it down.

      The English played a dirty war in both WWI and WWII. They destroyed (bombed) all the countries crops and made the civilians starve to death.

    • Carl Badertscher Says:

      I think Germany never stood a chance at a prolonged empire because the modern world had gotten so big, capable and interconnected by then. After World II there were almost no young German men left alive which actually created a generation gap. So never matter what advantage a “what if” would have given them, the “awakened giants” so to speak of the USA and Russia would have eventually annihilated them in totality.

    • Chris Says:

      The nazis were allowed to establish themselves in Europe while the rest of the world “discussed” what to do in parliament that is why they were so hard to take down if they were nipped in the bud as it were they wouldn’t have been a problem I do however agree with you though they did have the most advanced army in the world at the time our guided missiles now days and the apollo missions also came from the v2 launchers

  4. matt Says:

    If you must mention the Third Reich, you must mention Napoleon and France in general. France dominated europe for atleast 150 years, following the Peace of Wesphalia. And Napoleon conquered all of Europe save Scandinavia and Russia. For longer than the Nazis.

  5. tfp Says:

    Great list, but america is not an Empire, lol, because it refers to a single power having direct and total control over all the countries within it’s grasp, not just being able to influence them. And it may have only taken 4 days to bomb Iraq into submission, but lets face it, it took 20 years to lose a war against people in the jungle.

    The most successful empire imo, was the Mongol Empire, considering they used weapons that were available to all, and rose from what where effectively nomads.

    After that, the British Empire was the most extensive, and will probably be the largest empire that Earth will ever see.

    • lpd9 Says:

      tfp, i think the Spanish was the largest empire. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, enough said. Mandarin being the first because of the over population in China

      • Jack Says:

        The British empire was the greatest empire on record in regards of territory population land mass and economy, factually that is

    • Richard Says:

      No, they signed a truce and the US left and then they started fighting again.

    • dylan Says:

      the mongels may have been successful but the united states is the most powerful military power ever end of disscution. for one the us has never been counquered and we only lose when we see no reason to fight someone who is determined to live as communist when it aint are bussiness to tell how people to live but after pearl harbor the us exploded into production from depression to superpower in 4 years from little military to the worlds largest ever but this aint about biggest empires its about the best killing machines in world history and it goes like this 1 USA 2 Rome 3 Russia 4 Mongolia 5 UK

      • AJ Says:

        I’m sorry, but I have to point out, your comment is very wrong, to put it kindly. There are a lot of people that post comments about history without knowing the facts (which is annoyingly pretentious and arrogant, especially to those who have lost loved ones because of war) but this comment made me chuckle because it seemed like something a teen who has played too much Command and Conquer would say…after Pearl Harbour? 4 years? At the risk of sounding very obnoxious I have to point out your spelling is shocking, but spelling isn’t important when talking about facts (not totally anyway). But,…

        1) United States being most powerful military power ever is an opinion which is hard to measure, so there’s not much wrong with you having an opinion on that. Although the fact that Alexander the Great never lost a war, and defeated vastly superior numbers and forces than his own in his time, compared to defeats such as the US Killing Machine getting a lesson in warfare from the Vietnamese Communists in style over substance, despite the vastly superior Substance at hand.

        2) “for one the us has never been counquered” (conquered)
        The US is a very new nation, and is surrounded by a similar but substantially more advantageous defence to Britain; the sea. The tiny English channel is one of the key reasons Britain hasn’t been invaded since 1066; before anyone knew America existed except for it’s original inhabitants and possibly the Vikings at that point. So bragging about never being conquered is kinda like a boxer who has won his first three fights bragging to a veteran boxer who has fought 75 fights, won 66, lost 7 and drew 2.

        Yet these are reasons for America not being conquered, which are contradicted by the fact that America has been conquered, by several nations. Britain, Spain and France. The original native Indians had the land “conquered” from them. America didn’t have to conquer anyone, as while the Europeans were warring with each other during the 20th century, America planned on exploiting the situation for their own financial gain. As for “The US” never being conquered, it would depend on if you mean;

        a) Any of their land taken at all? In this case it would be false, an example would include the war of 1812 in which the United States lost large sections of Maine and had Washington DC set ablaze by Canadians and British after unsuccessfully launching an invasion of Canada. Most (if not all) countries have experienced this kind of intrusion during their history however.

        b) You would be correct in saying no country has completely invaded and changed the politics of the USA in it’s short history. This is an “achievement” that has been accomplished by many nations throughout the world, some of which you may never have heard of. I don’t think this fact is a good foundation from which to base a theory about military dominance, Otherwise Sweden and Ethiopia would be superpowers.

        3) ” in 4 years from little military to the worlds largest ever”
        I think you’ll find with a bit of research this is incorrect. I’ll just stick with the basic and most obvious flaws in the comment for now.

        a) If you’re going by manpower alone, the Red Army of the USSR during World War 2 had (roughly) 12.5 million “Battle Ready” soldiers including men and women. Even today North Korea boasts the largest combat-worthy number of soldiers, somewhere just shy of 10 million if my World Atlas is correct (2 years old) compared with USA’s 2.45 million.

        b) If you’re talking about Firepower and Technological advancement, then the term Largest Ever will probably need to be restated. And probably not to the term “Most Powerful Ever” as I think the reasons in 1) make the Macedonian Armies of Alexander the most powerful ever thanks to his 100% war-win ratio.

        4) “this aint about biggest empires its about the best killing machines in world history and it goes like this 1 USA 2 Rome 3 Russia 4 Mongolia 5 UK”
        Well the title of the article didn’t say anything about Killing Machine armies, I think the author would have classed a strong military by influences other than “Kill Ratio’s”. An army that could bully opponents into submission without a single loss of human life would be classed a powerful army indeed.
        But if it’s a Kill Count you’re basing it on, well what time period are you basing it on?

        a) If you mean in the entire world history then you’d find that most countries in Africa, Asia and Europe have killed more through warfare than America ever has before America was discovered by Columbus.

        b) If you mean since the United States was formed, then it wouldn’t be true. More deaths came at the hands of the British Empire as a result of their ruthless oppressive imperialistic heavy handed brutality despite warring with vastly inferior and ill equipped Native forces much of the time, throughout Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Pacific/Atlantic islands. The British Empire is thought to have caused over 10 million deaths world wide as a result of their imperialistic expansion, compared with the rough figure of 1.5 million deaths resulting from American warfare (1,321,000 in my book, but as mentioned it’s a couple years old)

        c) In the 20th Century? Well that unwanted status most definitely goes to the USSR. With an estimated figure not exactly known, many historians would credit the amount of kills resulting from direct warfare at the hands of the USSR to be somewhere in the region of 21 million. And that includes it’s own people. That likely means Russia are the biggest Wartime Killing Machines in history, depending on just how murderous the regime of Mao in China was, how accurate the reports of 50 million deaths are, and whether you classify famine as a War death. There are a huge number of variables to consider though, something that would require a debate between people who know a lot more about the subject than you or I.

  6. hercules16 Says:

    Pretty good list, though I’d add the Spartans and Samurai… Neither a really organized, expanding, territory-conquering military, but both very formidable nonetheless, and both with excellent training systems that forged some of the best warriors in human history.

  7. lpd9 Says:

    tfp, i think the Spanish was the largest empire. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world, enough said. Mandarin being the first because of the over population in China.

  8. I Says:

    What do you mean the U.S.S.R. never saw combat? Who the hell were the Nazis fighting in Russia? Also the invasion of Afghanistan. Ever heard of the Red Army?

  9. I Says:

    Just read the Third Reich section, you DO know who the Red Army is! Although they were formed by Trotsky during the Russian Civil War, not during WWII… Did you seriously believe that? The U.S.S.R. had quite a lot of combat for a country that apparently never went to war…

  10. pj20 Says:

    Awesome job with this post. It’s an entire history book in essay form. Oh, and the USA is an empire. We influence behavior of governments all over the globe. We don’t conquer it because we don’t want it but rest assured they’re all aware of our presence at any given time. Being Big Brother to the planet is no easy feat but we manage…

    • Glerg Says:

      Yes, let’s not forget Emperor Obama, lest he smite us with his complete autonomy! He better quell the rebellious vassal states of North Korea and Iran, though otherwise they won’t pay him his yearly tribute.
      To put it shortly, you’re stupid and what you said was stupid.

      • Duke Says:

        America did have an empire at one point and it could be argued that our territories that we still hold constitute an empire. A steppingstone pacific empire that included the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii and others were all results of the Spanish-American War (hawaii annexed in 1898 during the war). Puerto Rico and Cuba (until given independence) also can be included but in the Caribbean. Whether or not American influence over world affairs can be seen as imperialist, the current holdings of Guam, Puerto Rico, the northern marinas, the virgin islands, American Samoa, wake island, midway and a host of other territories definitionally makes us an empire that holds vast amounts of territory all over the Pacific and western hemisphere. The British and Spanish empires both had holdings all over the world and had political influence in neighboring territories and history defines them as empires. The only difference is that imperialism is frowned upon today and Americans don’t want to define themselves as such. Furthermore, economic power over other countries is much more difficult to measure than wholesale occupation. In the end, however, is not holding power whether economic, cultural or militant over a foreign entity imperialism? If not, then historical criteria for empires only taking into account land holdings would still count America as a land owning imperial power.

  11. Sam Says:

    Russia in 1856? Please Russia were being defeated massively in the Crimean War. They were so scared of the British Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava they didn’t touch them in open battle again; and it has stayed that way since. The British were the best with the most powerful armed forces in history. With Britain they fought and defeated Napoleon, Kaiser Willhelm II and Hitler in Europe being a top contributor. The fact is although we started off bad in the Napoleonic Wars and World War II we did adapt quickly and pick ourselves up to go on and defeat them both.

    Also Britain was the Foremost Global Power for a Century with little challenge and with every challenge they did win. No other nation can came clame they were the most powerful without another country standing a chance against them for a century.

    A Navy which dominated the oceans and an Army which dominated a quarter of third of the world of the worlds land with very few defeats. The honour must go to the British as they’ve not been invaded for over 900 years.

    • SF Says:

      But the charge of the light brigade was a massive failure, and the Russians decimated the charge?

    • Marco Says:


      I agree that Russia should not be on the list but I belive you are given over due credit to the Britsh army for victories throught out its empire.

      However, before I make my arguements I will accept that 19th Century Britian as a political identity was head and shoulders above the rest due to its dominant navy(in my opinion the key in making Britain Great) Industry and Technology and sheer economic power.

      But in saying this the Romans were at the very least equally as impressive for its time(comparing themselves to its closest rivals) but for a much longer time frame. So based on this criteria The Romans are the Benchmark for most dominat military in history.

      The Britsih Infantry in the modern era came to the world stage in approx 1658 at the battle of Dunes to Wold war 2. The British were highly trained during this period but had very light numbers in which its training and quality could not compensate the numbers of other european armies. This point is supported by te fact that Britian did not fight a major military land war alone as it always had allies to assist them and make up for its small land military. Example Spanish war of succession Britian was allied to the Dutch and Austrian empire, even its final battle with Napoean the British had The Prussians assiting them. WW2 The Britishj put a brave fight in the Battle of Britian and stopped the German war machine but alone it could not defeat the Germans and that is why The US army had to get involved in Europe and also lets not forget Russias contribution to the German downfall. The point that I want to illustrate is that Britian beacme a world power behemoth not by its land military but by its navy. Take way the navy take away the empire. Britian’s land military never operated in any major European war by itself but alaways had allies to assite them in one way or another.

      If this was a forum about the Greatest Navy in history without hesitation will i nominated the British Navy.

  12. Gladstone Says:

    British Empire was the largest empire the world has ever known – fact. Ruled a quarter of the worlds population, controlled every ocean in the world and controlled a quarter of the worlds land surface. It’s legacy – built schools, developed a system of law that is the basis for most countries on earth (trial by jury), English is the nearest thing to a universal language as it’s the language of business and maritime and most people’s second language, developed a system of free trade, sport i.e. football, rugby, cricket, golf etc, systems of measurement, founder of the industrial revolution, stopped the slave trade, mapped the world, invented the light bulb, radar, Tanks, the computer, electric motor, jet engine, photography, the cats eye, the train, telephone, television, established time zones and even the internet that we are using right now. I doubt there is any nation on earth that can boast such a contribution to science, law and culture all of which created the modern world we know today. She repeatedly took on all other super powers i.e. France and Spain Simultaneously and won each time. Of course her technology played a key part in it’s dominance, so her soliders wore red coats to make it fair and even the odds a little. Defeated numerous dictators and preserved freedom of speech time and time again. Britain has not been invaded in 1000 years and is still, despite the fact that her empire was given up many years ago, a major voice in the world, punching well above it’s weight. All this from a tiny, wet and windy island in the north Atlantic with a small population and a drinking problem, not bad eh?

    • Carl Badertscher Says:

      Well said but I would add that there are many countries that could boast an indispensable contribution to where the modern world is today. Just one example- Germany gave us the Saturn V that got us to the moon (from the V-2 rocket developed by Wernher von Braun) and one more example, lets not forget Einstein… and so on.

    • Chris Says:

      Old saying “the sun never sets on the British empire” records for empires include

      Largest : British
      Largest continuous (all connected by land) : mongol
      Longest: roman (lasted until the fall of the byzantine who took over)

  13. Gladstone Says:

    Also, the American war of independence was led by an Englishman – George Washington and to be fair, most people in Britain at that time supported the colonists aims and agreed with their views, so it was a half hearted effort. Britain was also engaged in wars on just about every continent at the same time during the war of independence and in 1812, her forces returned to burn Washington DC to ashes! Her decline was a result of two massive conflicts, WW1 and WW2, in which the USA delayed in being involved in deliberately to break Britain’s financial and military power in the world. After the war, the USA effectively mortgaged Britain whilst rebuilding its former foes free of charge, i.e. Germany and Japan. This was a very successful form of financial warfare which led to Britain’s economic demise and forced her to give up her empire. Funnily enough this is exactly the same tactic being employed by China today. Who do you think is doing the lending to the USA etc during the current economic crisis? History does indeed repeat it’s self.

  14. beastmode69 Says:

    America is an empire we just dont want to say it.America has soldiers in almost every country in the world excluding china. If we wanted to we could own the western hemisphere due to the fact that we are surronded by third world countries excluding canada, but we could still do canada in. Also Napolean was the only dictator to succesfully take over Europe, north africa, and parts of the middle east, and north america. Besides england.

    • Chris Says:

      America is one of the youngest countries in the world and although you guys don’t want to admit it the only reason you exist is because of Europeans you are like our child you keep whining you want Iraq and like any good parent we go oh okay we’ll help you get it just to stop you crying seriously the rest of the world can’t wait till you grow up

  15. bigsimon Says:

    if you know anything about history its the british millitary thats the best historically, defeating the russians,spanish,italy and the french multiple times winning wars on multiple fronts and continents helping defeat germany twice the brits fought in diff conditons around the world from the colds of europe and north america from the heat and sand of the desserts of africa and middle east and the humid hot conditions of asia and the south pacific and this done over the last 300-years the brits have always been at the forefront of millitary tech
    ie tanks, machine guns etc…

  16. Marco Says:

    I can’t belive that you did not include the Spanish Tercios on your list.

    The Spanish Tercios was Europe’s and with good premise the Worlds best organized military army force from 1503 to 1642. This force was responsible for defeating the Invincible Swiss pike man who were the Queen of the European battlefield for over 150years, constantly humiliated the French armies through the Italian Wars, in land made the Ottoman and its elite Janissary corpse look ordinary in the siege of castlenuovo and in Lepanto.

    The Spanish army had so much fear, respect and hatred that many armies avoided pitch confrontation and possessed admiration from its enemies in which in the words of 16th century English of Earl of Leicester “the best soldiers of Christendom”.

    In terms of track record, military doctrines, reputation The Spanish Tercio army of the 16th and early 17th century should be considered in your top ten lists

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  19. Miguel Says:

    One of the best military history is Blas de Lezo. In 1741, in Cartagena de Indias 3000 an army of Spanish soldiers commanded by Blas de Lezo WAS Able to defeat a squadron composed of more than 25.000 British soldiers. Blas de Lezo humbled the British Navy. What happened in Cartagena de Indias is one of the greatest victories in Spain and one of the biggest embarrassments in Britain.
      During the Modern Age, the most powerful navy in the world was the Spanish Armada.

  20. Miguel Says:

    King of Great Britain always felt very envious to Spain, so they sent dozens of laden fleets and pirates to invade the Spanish colonies in America, occupied some Caribbean islands but never managed to invade the Spanish Empire because, fortunately, Spanish soldiers were very strong and knew how to defend the possessions españolas.El Spanish Empire was defended by magnificent soldiers who always managed to expel intruders british.Spanish soldiers were very strong and great military strategists.

  21. Miguel Says:

    The Spanish Thirds are considered one of the strongest and most powerful armies in history. Many historians compare the Spanish Thirds with Roman Legions and Hoplites. For me, the top 15 military history are: Julius Caesar, Hannibal Barca, Alexander the Great, Blas de Lezo, Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba, the Great Captain ; Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, El Cid ; Hernan Cortes, Napoleon Bonaparte, Benjamin Lincoln, Bernardo de Galvez , Juan de Austria, Fernardo Alvarez de Toledo,Gran Duque de Alba ; Arthur_ Colley Wellesley, Duke of Wellington ; Jose de San Martin and Dwight David Eisenhower.

  22. Jack Says:

    I think perhaps a small bias for America? Agreed that they have a strong dollar empire but to place them as the best military I don’t know, let’s not forget it’s massive failures regarding Somalia and also the best trained military in the world is by far the British sas, swell as the ghurkas and you have ignored israels very competent army ( which surprise surprise is sas trained) and the American dollar empire is not as great (though still mighty) as everyone thinks – let’s not forget the threat to destroy the german economy which never happened. Also administration of liberated states such as afghanistan after Charlie Wilson the failures of Vietnam and also the mistakes of bombing British allies hardly give the American military as the greatest army in history

    • Mitchell Oh Says:

      Saying that the SAS is the best is also a bias. U.S. special forces have an almost infinite amount of resources at their disposal and have led the way in most major military engagements since 1991. Also the U.S. trained and equipped Israel, not the British.

  23. jamfanwp Says:

    The Army of Northern Virginia in the American civil war. They fought the entire war outnumbered 2-1. They were not at all well provisioned or equipped. Despite this, they fought the North to a standstill. They killed two Union Soldiers for every loss they suffered. Few times in history has a force as comparatively small instilled so much fear as Lee’s army did when it marched into the Union States.

  24. wertgqwgv Says:

    where is the spanish empire??

  25. Dylan Burford-Holland Says:

    Why has nobody mentioned the Kingdom of Prussia? After all they were the most proffessional and powerful army of Europe (and ultimately the world) from the 7 years war’ (1750s) until they were defeated in WWII as part of Germany.

    Honestly, its like when I read these list the writes know nothing of history.

  26. Robi Rob Says:

    Napoleon ?

  27. Jcm Says:

    I can’t believe it!!
    What about spanish Army in th 15th, 16th and 17th? It had the supremacy not only in Europe, America as well. They were maybe the first professional Army.
    I don’t understand this tremendous mistake


  28. charly Says:

    Where is the Spanish empire? If there is no Spanish empire crap go list. It was the great empire before the British. And Napoleón Empire! Moré history culture please!!

    • Dlovan Botan Says:

      Look the germans had the most powerful empire ever cuz he could take europe and fight against 100 million allied troops and he could conquer ussr and also north Africa and to reach to the both n.america and s.america by submarins and battle ships and fight against Australia and india in n.africa so he fight almost of world’s armies

  29. Kizza Says:

    I can’t think of one positive legacy of the Spanish “empire”. All it did was rape, pillage and fritter away whatever gold wasn’t taken by the Brits.

    • Carl Badertscher Says:

      You’re right Kizza but I think that was even more a common theme in the Ancient world. But I think the Spanish got away with it in the Medieval world because as the saying goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    • The_Elf_King Says:

      You are so full of shit because you are embaressed that the Spanish empire was so much more powerful than your precious British empire.

    • Jsf Says:

      Well ! First to circulate the glove in one Tripp ! First global currency ,( Spanish piece of 8 ) humiliated the British in Cartagena ,in the counter armada of Drake,in the American independence war, the only western force that defeat a bigger samurai force, the first battle army to army to defeat Napoleon ( battle of Bailen) the ones that defeated the Turks in lepanto , the ones that after a battle had the enemy running away screaming that God is Spanish !

      • Chris Says:

        The largest fleet ever was the Spanish armada and it got beaten by a girl (queen Elizabeth 1st) by unmanned boats also battle of trafalger Spanish and French combined had double the ships and lost double the men British had minor losses let’s not even mention the moors that’s why the Spanish have an African gene pool were the Spanish even in either world war I can’t remember Spanish empire what was that oh yes they destroyed indigenous populations that fought with spears and claimed the land greatest army ever obviously

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  33. Mert Says:

    Turks had mote than two empores through oit history. They had 16 empires starting from 4000 B.C. up until 1923 when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk made the Republic of Turkey.

    People think Spartans were the top power in the world but Turks defeated the Spartans in history many times. They also kicked to Roman empires ass in history.

    And last of all, Turkey was not defeated in WWI. They were counted defeated because the Germans had lost the war. The Turkish Independance war began very shortly after the first WWI. They defeated Brithish, French, Italian and Greeks in the indipendance war.
    The ANZAC troops against the Turks in Gallipoli, the ANZACs where defeated because a sargent called Seyit carried a bullet at the weight of 215 kg injured with a broken legg and arm, he then fired the bullet and brang down the admiral ship leading the attack. The ANZACs landed 1500 troops against a scout of 50 men and were still defeated. After that the Turks were out numbered because of reinforcements.

    Turks had all together empires for about 6000 years atleast.

  34. Mert Says:

    Oh please the guy who wrote that the British Empire was the biggest in the world. Its a known fact that the mongol empire was the biggest in the world. The mongol empire stretched from East Asia to East Europe.

  35. Nirranj Says:

    Good list. But three of the greatest empires/armies from India should have been included.
    Mauryan empire: if not for them the Macedonians would have conquered India.

    Cholas: they dominated the Indian ocean for 4 centuries and led the conquest of south east Asia.

    The mughals: shrewd tacticians and masters of warfare.. they created one of the largest, powerful and prosperous empires of all time…

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  37. victory man Says:

    I agree that the British had a empire their best military power being their great navy but I think their real power was in their influence and politics though most of their empire was through influence and colonies setup not actual military conquests hence why they aren’t really considered a great empire. also while the British has had some good commanders it has had some very bad ones. the British gave up their territories for finical reasons. both the us and the British really cant compete with the Macedonians or the Mongols or the Germans who in their own times have produced great empires through brilliant strategies ahead of their time. the us aren’t a empire and have really been losing their military might since world war 2. they lost in Vietnam they couldn’t defeat north Korea which ended in a stalemate and have been in afghan for 10years fighting a war they don’t know how to fight. they entered both world wars late they beat the Japanese using navy might not military. the Australians were the first ground force to beat the Japanese in ww2 at dacoda. Russia lost due to their economy not because they were beaten in battle also the us has had allies supporting them in nearly every single war so they really haven’t earned any title to be called the greatest military of all time.

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  45. Brian Says:

    All of you are ridiculous, the USA is the greatest military power the world has ever known mainly due to its supreme advantage in technological innovation. One B-2 Stealth bomber has enough ordinance to take out targets equal to 35 conventional bombers with unbelievable accuracy. I could go on. The U.S. went into Pakistan with a group of 100 or so men and took out Osama bin Laden just down the street from Pakistan’s West Point and the Paki’s did nothing about it because they knew to do so would be political and military suicide. Look I have great respect for many of the world’s great militaries both past and present, but if you take an honest look at the facts, many of which are omitted from this post, one can see the greatness of the US military. All due respect to all those reading this representing other nations for I know you don’t agree and never will.

    • Jack curtis Says:

      Nah mate you real don’t know nothing about Pakistan’s Military power, Its a very small country compared to USA but totally unpredictable they have done things which others can’t USA made a nuclear bomb in less then 40 years well these guys made it in less than 15 years their intelligency agency fooled the American’s like it is a piece of cake for them…. CIA FBI MI6 etc they all cry now of because they have done working with the ISI(Pakistani Intelligence Agency) from1989-1999 that single agency adopted every single thing from all those agency with whom they were working with and now ISI knows every single weakness they know how destroy a country politics army from inside etc and is the most nd least funded agency in the category of the Elite and that is the reason Paki’s pose a very big threat to the world specially to INDIA and ISREAL.. they have a very strong army capable of doing anything anywhere anytime.. i am an American i used to work for the government but not anymore.. USA destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq so that they can surround Pakistan from all sides and ofcourse they need free oil Pakistan made Taliban’s to fight for Americans against USSR but when the time came to pay the Talibans USA in return bomb them nd called them terriost they is why Afghanistan is totally destroyed..

  46. Mare Says:

    Iraq, The world’s 4th largest Army?

    Man, it’s not even in a top 10.

    1 People’s Republic of China 2,285,000
    2 United States of America 1,429,995
    3 India 1,325,000
    4 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 1,106,000
    5 Russian Federation 1,040,000

    • BP Says:

      In 1991, Iraq had the worlds 4th largest army.

      • dongydongy Says:

        But the size doesn’t really speak for combat power. This 4th largest army in the world thing is mostly brought up to make the US victory look bigger than it actually was. Irak pretty much had no air defense, no air force, no navy. Overall a very weak army.

  47. Michael Says:

    between 1600 – 1700 polish army was most powerful army in Europe thanks to hussars division

  48. bob Says:

    the mongols were truly the best empire. although they were ruthless, the held land from europe, russia, some from india, china and the middle east.the only reasons they didn’t capture japan is because of the freak storms that destroyed their navy. they disintegrated because of a heart attack to the emperor. otherwise, they would have taken over

  49. bob Says:

    I’m not saying they were good people, but they did have a big empire and efficient military system.

  50. LordMatraka Says:

    Ok. Anything about Spanish Empire in your list, so it’s fucking crap. Anything about Tercios, ass well. It’s ridiculous. I cannot understand how english and american people can always ignore Spain such the first proffesional army and the most perfect soldiers since roman legions. LEARN SOME HISTORY.

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  52. Ben Says:

    While I understand that it is nearly impossible to be unbiased in a list or comment like this, I can’t believe some of the complete British bias in some of these comments. Complete omission or failure to acknowledge the absolute dominance of the Spanish Empire that was far and away more powerful than any other nation in it’s prime and the overestimation of the feats of the British Empire surprises me.

    Yes, the British Empire was indeed the largest empire ever. Not continuous land empire which was the Mongol Empire, but still the largest ever. The British power lay with their navy, not their land armies as so many people here seem to think. In most of the great European conflicts before the 20th century in which the British fought, like the War of Spanish Succession or the Napoleonic wars, their main role was the blockade the opposing nation’s ports, not fight the large land battles. The reason the British Empire grew so powerful was it’s ability to absolutely control the seas, not control ground wars.

    Now we come to the subject of how the US truly is the most dominate military power of day, possibly ever. Admittedly, the US victory in the American Revolution isn’t as impressive as it seems with Britain also engaged in several other wars. That being said, an army of farmers beat what was the best trained military and largest navy in the world without any real navy to speak of. If we move on to WWI, the war never really looked like a full Allied victory until the very end of the war. The idea that the British “fought off and best the Kaiser” is hardly true. Again, the Brits had a lot of help. France suffered just as much if not more, the British were beaten by the dying Ottoman Empire at Gallipoli, and never really looked like winning the war, in fact looked on the verge of losing, until American units began arriving en mass.

    Much the same can be said for WWII. While yes, they were hit unprepared by Germany, they were very nearly on the verge of being knocked out of the war. The statement that the Brits “stopped then beat back Hitler and the Japanese” is simply not true. Without American aid, there is no way that Britain would have successfully been able to defend themselves. After the US joined the Allies in WWII, the flow of supplies from the US was vital to all the other major allied countries. After joining, all the major battles of the Pacific Theater were won by mostly American forces, and the US/British invasion of Europe would have been impossible without American military might.

    In the modern day, the US is the most powerful military and cultural entity in the world. American military bases around the world allow for response to literally any part of the world like no other nation can. American music, movies and style dominate international markets (I’ve been to Europe, I’ve seen all the people wearing American sports hats and having no clue or care what teams those hats support, don’t deny it). While beaten in Vietnam, the cause was not a failure of the military but a failure of public support. In North Korea, while technically stalemated, the US did not lose to North Korea (rather deciesively beat them) but were beaten back by huge numbers of Chinese soldiers.

    I’ve gone on long enough on my rant here, feel free to call me biased, but I realize everyone is biased and never won’t be

    • Maximvs Decimvs Says:

      «the US/British invasion of Europe would have been impossible without American military might»

      Thee WWII was decided in Stalingrad. They were the soviets who made the war turn 180º. But you are right, the brits wouldn’t have done much without the americans, In fact, if not for the east and west pressure by americans and soviets, who knows what woud have happened… Perhaps we were writing here in german instead english…

      «In the modern day, the US is the most powerful military and cultural entity in the world. American military bases around the world allow for response to literally any part of the world like no other nation can. American music, movies and style dominate international markets (I’ve been to Europe, I’ve seen all the people wearing American sports hats and having no clue or care what teams those hats support, don’t deny it)»

      Absolutely right. Even if the US can’t say the have an empire (a real empire is where you own the lands and beings that live there. A king really could take whatever they wanted or whoever they wanted because those land were theirs like your home is yours. The US don’t have that power outside their frontiers), it’s true that they have a “pseudo-empire”, and that capitalism has brought all the easy-to-produce-and-consume american culture. It’s probably the first time in history that an inferior culture imposes itself over superior ones. Not that there’s no real culture in the USA, but as you have perfectly described, in Europe people don’t know a sh*t about the “high” US culture, the world doesn’t know a damn about T. S. Eliot, Charles Ives or Orson Welles, only the cultured ones do, but the 99% of the people listen silly american pop/rock, watch stupid blows/explosions/shots/superheroes movies and wear tacky sports hats (the spoert thing is not another american “invasion”, they also wear tacky clothes of football teams from Europe, Real Madrid, Manchester, Barcelona…). So, is the lowest of american culture what is “conquering” the world. Greece and Italy conquered the cultural world through their art, philosophy, science, Germany, England, Spain, France exported the best composers, literature, painting, gastronomy, thinkers, scientists. People doesn’t know of Germany because a famous tune singer but because of Beethoven, Nietzsche, Einstein (even if he later escaped to US, he was german and became what he was, thanks to have grown in Germany as a german), but what do we know of US? Hollywood, Lady Gaga, Coca Cola…
      The very first time a backward culture triumphs over an advanced and refined one without having wiped it by the force first. I know it’s not on your hand, but the United States have a yound but very valuable high culture. That’s what you should export, not crap.

  53. Peter Says:

    Definitely the third reich. The speed with which they took Europe and would have controlled Britain and Russia too if it weren’t for geography and weather and adolf thinking he was a great military strategist. He ignored some his great generals and conducted the winter war himself. Sacrificing millions of poorly equipped troops to the sub artic cold. Statistics said the Wehrmacht were 1.5 more combat effective per unit size than any other like unit in history. Bad leadership, by gods grace, was the main breaking point of the third reich

  54. Tarek A. Says:

    The greatest empire of all time is clearly the Roman empire. It defeated all the superpowers of its time (Carthage, Greece,Egypt) ( with the exception of China),covered almost any “important” part of the world back then and it managed to last from 200 bc until around 600 (roughly 800 years) and even longer in form ot the Byzantine Empire. The Romans were miles ahead of any other culture in terms of technology,warfare,science,arts, living standart and so on, that it took hundrets of years after the Empire fell to reach the same standarts for Europe and the mediteranean region.. Neither the Spanish nor the British Empire, the US,USSR,or the Mongolian Empire can claim that, can they?
    Also the probably most effective and feared special military units to ever enter the battlefield in ancient times are the Spartan Hoplites, the Samurai, the Mongolian horsearchers, the Turkish Janizaries, the Viking Berzerks, Arabic Cavalry during the Islamic Conquest and the Crusades.
    Some of you guys should learn some history before posting such rubbish.

  55. Basque_Spaniard Says:

    Ottoman empire as the best military power? Ottoman empire thanks to the effort of spanish tercios, their armies couldnt invade whole europe. Spanish Soldiers were decisive on the battle of Lepanto and the free of Budapest. Spain one of the greatest kingdom europe and put the Catholic Faith at the head of Christian religion of europe.
    Spain was the sword of rome from XVI-XVII. Later, due to the internal problems give the head to France but was not until XIX century when Spain finished in ruins because of so many revolutions and civil wars not because foreign countries.

    The famous british empire was to the fact to have best navy of europe, nevertheless, when they fought against an equal power they suffered a lot. When they fought against equal modern power praised USA to help them.

    Spanish Infantry: The best of the world during 150 years. Defeated, muslims, american empires, english, French, scandinavians, samurais etc…

    When the majority of Europeans had militias and royal guards, spain had proffesional armies.

    I can even speak more: The famous Italians wars, the french invaded Italy with an army 34.000 soldiers and the Italians didnt give any resistance. There was only one army that stopped their offensive, an Spanish army of 9.600 soldiers of the recently created Tercios (proffessional army) lead by The Great Captain. The French were very confident in their victory but when they fought against spaniards they have to withdraw their forces from the battle. A the end, they have to accept their landslide defeat. The French king was deeply humiliated.
    Famous british phrases: ” Spanish at the sea I want to see, at land Saint George protect us”, “the best soldiers of the Christianity”.

  56. nigginigga Says:

    Britain was jack shit in 1783.
    The British Empire became a thing only in the 19th century.
    Here’s the British ‘Empire’ in 1815:

    Also, forgetting France which was the most feared country of Europe for centuries (see link below) and conquered Europe in early 19th century is pretty low

  57. izzy Says:

    The Grand army under Napoleon was the greatest military…. Modern era I’d say israelian army… Defeated 7 nations…. in 6 days…. But in ancient times none carry more glory on most coast than the Greeks

  58. guy Says:

    The huge Spanish Armada sent to occupy England was destroyed in the 16th century and then 300 years later the combined Spanish and French fleets were destroyed by the Royal Navy at the Battle of Trafalgar. That’s why the Spanish aren’t in the top list. No se ponen bravo!

    • Maximvs Decimvs Says:

      It’s not a matter of “ponerse bravos”, but historical rigour.
      The Armada only lost a 35 – 40 ships out of her 130 which fought about 200 british warships and about 30 armed flyboats; and had to retreat mostly because of the tempests, and the bad coordination with the ships commanded by the duke of Parma, that had to join the armada from Flanders. But the spaniards lost, that’s how it ended, nobody can deny it.
      But we have to be honest and admit that british historiography has always maked up the truth (in part as a strategy of the (in)famous Black Legend they made up, along with the portuguese and other enemies of the then hegemonic power, Spain), has always exaggerated the british triumphs (even in modern times: if we were to believe their historians, it would seem that they won WWII, not the soviets and the americans), and hidden their failures. Did you know that british kids don’t study the Battle of Cartagena de Indias at schools, which marked the end for british serious aspirations in the Caribbean? At least an english friend of mine told me so; he had never heard of it, nor of Blas de Lezo, ever! They sent largest armada ever until the Operation Overlord in WWII, almost 190 warships, 28000 – 30000 men, fought 6 spanish ships, 3500 – 4000 soldiers and 600 native archers; England lost 11000 men, Spain, 800. But you are so sure England deserves to be in a top list where Spain doesn’t, right? Come on!
      Britain has been militarly great, awesome, but don’t be so sure it’s been greater than Spain in its good times. You need to read more, especially from non anglosaxon historians.

      Regarding the original question about the best military, I don think there’s a “right” answer: romans, huns, chineses, spaniards, british have had the largest empires and most powerful armies of their times. Today, americans have the gratest military, and arguably the largest “quasi-empire” ever (look at us, here we are, writing in their language. Although there’s a big difference between pseudoempires and real empires in which a monarch was effectively the proprietary of all those lands and beings living in them). Some decades ago, also the soviets had a staggering military. But can we compare the technology: laser guided missiles, armored vehicles, fighters, nuclear weapons… to swords, bows, arquebuses, muskets, galeons…?, or the equilibrium of forces: Spain vs. England; England vs. France, France vs Germany… to USA vs. Iraq or Vietnam or USSR vs. Afghanistan (and both americans and soviets even lost)?
      The only thing I see clear is that Europe has had the best militaries ever on earth, and if we put aside economic interest and rivalry, if we really make a real European Union for the people, not the corporate, nobody on the planet would ever ba able to cough at us.

      Ave, Europa, lux mundi!

    • Basque_Spaniards Says:

      England tried to invade spain in 16th.century (the English Armada) just after spanish armada and they were expelled at land and at the sea, they have not weather help including the support of holland.

      In XVIII. century England made the second biggest invasion fleet in History to the Spanish America and they had to withdraw.
      The famous battle of trafalgar: A battle of the less experienced admiral Villeneuve. Not the Spanish Admiral Gravina more prepared to that battle. The Admiral Nelson was defeated before in Tenerife by the Spanish.

      The English became a power at the sea but at land they need a coalition against an equal power.

  59. Dave Says:

    This page is definately very interesting, however, it would be worth noting that the middle ages ended in the 15th century. A more adequate division would be ancient, medieval, modern (15th-18th centuries) and contemporary (19th-21sr centuries)

    There are also some painfully obvious commissions, in the ancient section, the Maurya Empire and ancient China, in modern, the Spanish Empire, and the Mughal Empire, and in contemporary, Israel and Imperial Japan.

    But still, interesting an informative article, I didn’t mean to sound offensive, I enjoyed reading it, I just thought I’d share my views.

  60. dongydongy Says:

    Although I would be very careful to not exaggerate the power of the US army of 2008 and consider its worldwide distribution a success. In my opinion, the “most powerful empire the world has ever seen” is more fragile than one might expect. Maintaining this empire has rendered the US almost bankrupt with trillions in debt. This jeopardizes the power of US forces in the long run.
    I highly recommend to read Colonel Douglas MacGreggor, a veteran of 1991, who is saying that the quick defeat of Iraki forces led to the overestimation of US combat power and in turn to a total refusal of army reforms and improvements. He says, that fighting Iraki forces was the equivalent of clubbing baby seals, as they were of very low combat value. He brings the analogy of the high school football team taking on a bunch of third graders, soundly defeating them and walking off the field and thinking they were the best football team that ever got fielded, but without ever having taken on somebody who was any good.
    Just a warning, to not neglect reform, change and innovation (not only technologically) in the army. Fighting insurgents or armies with no air force, air defense and navies might lead to false estimations of your own capabilities.
    Hope that it doesn’t go against the Russians one day. Would certainly look a lot different. Good luck to all!

  61. Chris Says:

    I think the British army should still be in the modern era top armies their training is twice as long as Americans and they are more disciplined if the British had the numbers of the Americans the ground troops would be better than any other modern army, I will admit though I’ve heard bad things about the equipment so yeah basically the best modern army would be American tech British trained my belief anyway open to suggestions

  62. Basque_Spaniards Says:

    The English:
    -1589: Just After the failure of the Spanish Armada, England sent his armada including the support of holland warships. In spite of having to the possibility to land because there wasnt an excuse of the weather were absolutely defeated by Spanish GIRL. JAJAJA.

    -1741: Now the british angry sent the second biggest invasion fleet in History (186 warships with 30.000 soldiers) to invade Spanish America. Result total disaster. JAJAJA.

    -The famous battle of trafalgar: Napoleon could chose as a commander of the Spanish-French navies two admirals.
    1-Villeneuve: French and with little experience.
    2-Gravina: Spanish with a lot of experience.
    At the end, Napoleon chose Villeneuve however later he regret. Napoleon understimate spaniards a big mistake that paid later.

    Napoleon´s opinion of Gravina: “Gravina is a genious and decision in combat. If Villeneuve had had these qualities would have been over the british”:

    The famous Nelson even had experience against spaniards in Tenerife with a total defeat. A battle that lost one arm.

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