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The Empire of Evil.jpg

Empires are geographically extensive groups of states (normally countries or worlds) and peoples (ethnic groups) united under rule 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) from "imperare" (to command).

Aside from the traditional usage, the term "empire" can also be used to describe a large-scale business enterprise (e.g., a transnational corporation), a political organization controlled by a single individual (apolitical boss) or a group (political bosses).

An imperial political structure can established and maintained in two ways: (I) as a territorial empire of direct conquest and control with force or (II) as a coercive and 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 the Median Empire) tend to be contiguous areas. On occasion, he term 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.