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ap world study guides

🚀  Thematic Guides

✈️  Unit 9: Globalization

👉  Introduction to AP World

3.4 Comparison in Land-Based Empires





⏱️  3 min read

written by

Evan Liddle

evan liddle

May 7, 2020

This guide includes comparisons in unit 3 and unit 4 respectively in addition to comparisons between unit 3 and unit 4.

Short but sweet: Unit 3 and 4 focus on the growth of empires both across the Atlantic in the Americas and in Afro-Eurasia, so the major comparison would be in the type or style of government. 

 🗺Land Based Empires

Mughal Empire

Ottoman Empire

Safavid Empire

Songhai Empire

Russian Empire 

Qing Empire (China)

Ming Empire (China)

Incan Empire

Mexica (Aztec Empire)

Tokugawa Japan

🌊Maritime Empires

British Empire

Spanish Empire

Portuguese Empire

French Empire 

Dutch Empire

A major difference between these two types of empires is that the empires on the left were predominantly land based, meaning most of their power and wealth came from the land, rich agriculture, and profitable trade routes. Those on the right are predominantly maritime based empires, meaning that their power and wealth come from trade overseas, colonies overseas, or controlling overseas trade routes

Administrative Systems

Based on Religious Justification✝️Based on Military Elites🎖
Divine Right of Kings (French Empire), Mandate of Heaven (China), Songhai Islam (Songhai)Devshirme System (Ottoman Empire), Samurai Warriors (Japan)

How governments maintain legitimacy varies across empires, but the chart above illustrates two general ways that empires claimed the right to rule. Military elites refer to a system of warriors who are loyal to the ruler or the state which helps them maintain power. On the other hand, some states relied more on religious justification for their power, claiming direct connection to the divine as the right to rule. It should be understood that these two often mixed.  

Social Hierarchies

Social Hierarchy based on Race/Culture🎎Social Hierarchy based on Religion☪️
Qing Dynasty (Restrictive Policy on Han Chinese), Spanish Empire (The Casta System)The Ottoman Empire (The Millet System), The Mughal Empire (Zamindar/Rajput System)

Organizing a society is essential to maintaining stability within an Empire. A hierarchy determined one's job, what legal rights they had and proximity to power. These hierarchies can be based on physical characteristics, probably the most famous being the Casta System, which was based on perceptions of blood purity. Or they can be based on religion as in many of the Islamic empires; the Millet System gave each religion its own political zone. Although the Islamic zones were above the others, this did provide some stability as each zone was free to practice their own religion.

Maritime Empires

Trading Post EmpiresColonial Empires📍
The Portugese in Africa/India, The Dutch in Southeast AsiaThe French in North America, The British in North America, The Spanish in North and South America

For those empires that expanded overseas, there were two major types that corresponded more to the situation of the colonized regions. During this time, Europeans stuck to themselves in trading posts and did not assert authority over land, but did overseas known as Trading Post Empires. Colonial Empires refers to places where Europeans conquered land and sometimes settled their own populations there. Trading Post Empires often confronted established and long standing empires or populations they could not eliminate or geography that was unfavorable to conquest. The opposite was true for Colonial Empires.


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