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An EMPEROR (through Old French _empereor_ from Latin _IMPERATOR _ ) is a monarch , usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. EMPRESS, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (_empress consort _), mother (_empress dowager _), or a woman who rules in her own right (_empress regnant _). Emperors are generally recognized to be of a higher honour and rank than kings . In Europe
Europe
the title of Emperor
Emperor
has been used since the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
, considered in those times equal or almost equal in dignity to that of Pope
Pope
, due to the latter's position as visible head of the Church and spiritual leader of the Catholic part of Western Europe
Europe
. The Emperor of Japan is the only currently reigning monarch whose title is translated into English as "Emperor".

Both kings and emperors are monarchs , but _emperor_ and _empress_ are considered the higher monarchical titles. In as much as there is a strict definition of emperor, it is that an emperor has no relations implying the superiority of any other ruler, and typically rules over more than one nation. Thus a king might be obliged to pay tribute to another ruler, or be restrained in his actions in some unequal fashion, but an emperor should in theory be completely free of such restraints. Monarchs heading empires, however, have not always used the title in all contexts— the British sovereign did not assume the title "Empress of the British Empire" even during the incorporation of India though she was declared "Empress of India".

In Western Europe
Europe
the title of Emperor
Emperor
was used exclusively by the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
, whose imperial authority was derived from the concept of _translatio imperii _, i.e. they claimed succession to the authority of the Western Roman Emperors , thus linking themselves to Roman institutions and traditions as part of state ideology. Although initially ruling much of Central Europe
Europe
and northern Italy, by the 19th century the Emperor
Emperor
exercised little power beyond the German speaking states. Although technically an elective title, by the late 16th century
16th century
the imperial title had in practice come to be inherited by the Habsburg
Habsburg
Archdukes of Austria and, following the Thirty Years\' War , their control over the states (outside of the Habsburg
Habsburg
Monarchy , i.e. Austria , Bohemia , and various territories outside of the empire) had become nearly non-existent. However, in 1804 Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor
Emperor
of the French, and was shortly followed by Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
, who to declared himself Emperor
Emperor
of Austria in the same year; however, the position of Holy Roman Emperor continued until Francis II abdicated that position in 1806.

In Eastern Europe
Europe
the rulers of the Russian Empire
Empire
also used _translatio imperii_ to wield imperial authority as successors to the Eastern Roman Empire
Empire
. Their title of Emperor
Emperor
was officially recognised by the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
in 1514, although not officially used by the Russian monarchs until 1547. In practice the Russian Emperors are often known by their Russian-language title _ Tsar
Tsar
_, which may also used to refer to rulers equivalent to a king.

Historians have liberally used _emperor_ and _empire_ anachronistically and out of its Roman and European context to describe any large state from the past or the present. Such pre-Roman titles as "Great King
King
" or " King
King
of Kings ", used by the Kings of Persia
Persia
and others, are often considered as the equivalent. Sometimes this reference has even extended to non-monarchically ruled states and their spheres of influence such as the "Athenian Empire
Empire
" of the late 5th century BC, the "Angevin Empire
Empire
" of the Plantagenets , and the Soviet and American "empires" of the Cold War
Cold War
era. However such "empires" did not need to be headed by an "emperor". _Empire_ became identified instead with vast territorial holdings rather than the title of its ruler by the mid-18th century.

For purposes of protocol, emperors were once given precedence over kings in international diplomatic relations; currently, however, precedence amongst heads of state who are Sovereigns– whether they be Kings, Queens, Emperors, Princes, and to a lesser degree Presidents – is determined by the duration of time that each one has been continuously in office.

Outside the European context, _emperor_ was the translation given to holders of titles who were accorded the same precedence as European emperors in diplomatic terms. In reciprocity, these rulers might accredit equal titles in their native languages to their European peers. Through centuries of international convention, this has become the dominant rule to identifying an emperor in the modern era.

CONTENTS

* 1 Roman tradition

* 2 Roman Empire
Empire
and Byzantine emperors

* 2.1 Classical Antiquity

* 2.2 Byzantine period

* 2.2.1 Before the 4th Crusade * 2.2.2 Latin emperors * 2.2.3 After the 4th Crusade

* 3 Ottoman Empire
Empire
* 4 Holy Roman Empire
Empire
* 5 Austrian Empire
Empire

* 6 Emperors of Europe
Europe

* 6.1 Bulgaria
Bulgaria

* 6.2 France

* 6.2.1 First French Empire
Empire
* 6.2.2 Elba
Elba
* 6.2.3 Second French Empire
Empire

* 6.3 Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula

* 6.3.1 Spain * 6.3.2 Portugal

* 6.4 Britain

* 6.4.1 England * 6.4.2 United Kingdom

* 6.5 German Empire
Empire
* 6.6 Russia * 6.7 Serbia
Serbia

* 7 Emperors in the Americas

* 7.1 Pre-Columbian
Pre-Columbian
traditions

* 7.1.1 Aztec Empire
Empire
* 7.1.2 Inca Empire
Empire

* 7.2 Post-Columbian Americas

* 7.2.1 Brazil * 7.2.2 Haiti
Haiti
* 7.2.3 Mexico

* 8 Persia
Persia
(Iran) * 9 Indian subcontinent

* 10 Africa

* 10.1 Ethiopia
Ethiopia
* 10.2 Central African Empire
Empire

* 11 East Asian
East Asian
tradition

* 11.1 China * 11.2 Japan * 11.3 Korea * 11.4 Mongolia * 11.5 Vietnam

* 12 Oceania
Oceania
* 13 Fictional uses * 14 See also * 15 Notes * 16 External links

ROMAN TRADITION

In the Roman tradition a large variety in the meaning and importance of the imperial form of monarchy developed: in _intention_ it was always the highest office, but it could as well fall down to a redundant title for nobility that had never been near to the "Empire" they were supposed to be reigning. Also the _name_ of the position split in several branches of Western tradition, see below.

The importance and meaning of coronation ceremonies and regalia also varied within the tradition: for instance Holy Roman Emperors could only be crowned emperor by the Pope
Pope
, which meant the coronation ceremony usually took place in Rome, often several years after these emperors had ascended to the throne (as "king") in their home country. The first Latin Emperors of Constantinople
Constantinople
on the other hand had to be present in the newly conquered capital of their empire, because that was the only place where they could be granted to become emperor.

Early Roman Emperors avoided any type of ceremony or regalia different from what was already usual for republican offices in the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
: the most intrusive change had been changing the color of their robe to purple. Later new symbols of worldly and/or spiritual power, like the orb , became an essential part of the imperial accessories.

Rules for indicating successors also varied: there was a tendency towards _male_ _inheritance_ of the supreme office, but as well election by noblemen, as ruling empresses (for empires not too strictly under salic law ) are known. Ruling monarchs could additionally steer the succession by adoption, as often occurred in the two first centuries of Imperial Rome. Of course, intrigue, murder and military force could also mingle in for appointing successors; the Roman imperial tradition made no exception to other monarchical traditions in this respect. Probably the epoch best known for this part of the imperial tradition is Rome\'s third century rule.

ROMAN EMPIRE AND BYZANTINE EMPERORS

CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY

Main articles: Roman emperor
Roman emperor
and Imperator
Imperator
A statue of the dictator Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
. Augustus
Augustus
, the first emperor of the Roman Empire.

When Republican Rome turned into a _de facto_ monarchy in the second half of the 1st century BC, at first there was no name for the title of the new type of monarch. Ancient Romans abhorred the name Rex ("king") , and it was critical to the political order to maintain the forms and pretenses of republican rule. Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
had been Dictator , an acknowledged and traditional office in Republican Rome. Caesar was not the first to hold it, but following his assassination the term was abhorred in Rome.

Augustus
Augustus
, considered the first Roman emperor
Roman emperor
, established his by collecting on himself offices, titles, and honours of Republican Rome that had traditionally been distributed to different people, concentrating what had been distributed power in one man. One of these offices was _princeps senatus _, ("first man of the Senate") and became changed into Augustus' chief honorific, _princeps civitatis _ ("first citizen") from which the modern English word and title prince is descended. The first period of the Roman Empire
Empire
, from 27 BC – 284 AD, is called the _principate _ for this reason. However, it was the informal descriptive of _ Imperator
Imperator
_ ("commander") that became the title increasingly favored by his successors. Previously bestowed on high officials and military commanders who had _imperium _, Augustus reserved it exclusively to himself as the ultimate holder of all _imperium_. (_Imperium_ is Latin for the authority to command, one of a various types of authority delineated in Roman political thought.)

Beginning with Augustus, _Imperator_ appeared in the title of all Roman monarchs through the extinction of the Empire
Empire
in 1453. After the reign of Augustus' immediate successor Tiberius
Tiberius
, being proclaimed _imperator_ was transformed into the act of accession to the head of state . Other honorifics used by the Roman Emperors have also come to be synonyms for Emperor:

* CAESAR (as, for example, in Suetonius ' _Twelve Caesars _). This tradition continued in many languages: in German it became " Kaiser
Kaiser
"; in certain Slavic languages it became " Tsar
Tsar
"; in Hungarian it became " Császár ", and several more variants. The name derived from Julius Caesar 's cognomen "Caesar": this cognomen was adopted by all Roman emperors, exclusively by the ruling monarch after the Julio-Claudian dynasty had died out. In this tradition Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
is sometimes described as the first Caesar/emperor (following Suetonius). This is one of the most enduring titles, Caesar and its transliterations appeared in every year from the time of Caesar Augustus
Augustus
to Tsar
Tsar
Symeon II of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
's removal from the throne in 1946. * AUGUSTUS was the honorific first bestowed on Emperor
Emperor
Augustus: after him all Roman emperors added it to their name. Although it had a high symbolical value, something like "elevated" or "sublime", it was generally not used to indicate the office of _Emperor_ itself. Exceptions include the title of the _ Augustan History _, a semi-historical collection of Emperors' biographies of the 2nd and 3rd century. Augustus
Augustus
had (by his last will) granted the feminine form of this honorific (Augusta ) to his wife. Since there was no "title" of Empress(-consort) whatsoever, women of the reigning dynasty sought to be granted this honorific, as the highest attainable goal. Few were however granted the title, and certainly not as a rule all wives of reigning Emperors. * IMPERATOR (as, for example, in Pliny the Elder 's _Naturalis Historia _). In the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
Imperator
Imperator
meant "(military) commander". In the late Republic, as in the early years of the new monarchy, _Imperator_ was a title granted to Roman generals by their troops and the Roman Senate
Roman Senate
after a great victory, roughly comparable to field marshal (head or commander of the entire army). For example, in AD 15 Germanicus
Germanicus
was proclaimed _Imperator_ during the reign of his adoptive father Tiberius
Tiberius
. Soon thereafter "Imperator" became however a title reserved exclusively for the ruling monarch. This led to "Emperor" in English and, among other examples, "Empereur" in French and "Mbreti" in Albanian. The Latin feminine form Imperatrix only developed after "Imperator" had taken on the connotation of "Emperor". * AUTOKRATOR (Αὐτοκράτωρ) or BASILEUS (βασιλεύς): although the Greeks used equivalents of "Caesar" (Καίσαρ, _Kaisar_) and "Augustus" (in two forms: transliterated as Αὔγουστος, _Augoustos_ or translated as Σεβαστός, _ Sebastos _) these were rather used as part of the name of the Emperor than as an indication of the office. Instead of developing a new name for the new type of monarchy, they used αὐτοκράτωρ (_autokratōr_, only partly overlapping with the modern understanding of "autocrat ") or βασιλεύς (_basileus _, until then the usual name for "sovereign "). _Autokratōr_ was essentially used as a translation of the Latin _Imperator_ in Greek-speaking part of the Roman Empire, but also here there is only partial overlap between the meaning of the original Greek and Latin concepts. For the Greeks _Autokratōr_ was not a military title, and was closer to the Latin _dictator _ concept ("the one with unlimited power"), before it came to mean Emperor. _Basileus_ appears not to have been used exclusively in the meaning of "emperor" (and specifically, the Roman/Byzantine emperor) before the 7th century, although it was a standard informal designation of the Emperor
Emperor
in the Greek-speaking East.

After the turbulent Year of the four emperors in 69, the Flavian Dynasty
Dynasty
reigned for three decades. The succeeding Nervan-Antonian Dynasty
Dynasty
, ruling for most of the 2nd century, stabilised the Empire. This epoch became known as the era of the _Five Good Emperors _, and was followed by the short-lived Severan Dynasty
Severan Dynasty
.

During the Crisis of the 3rd century , Barracks Emperors succeeded one another at short intervals. Three short lived secessionist attempts had their own emperors: the Gallic Empire
Empire
, the Britannic Empire
Empire
, and the Palmyrene Empire
Empire
though the latter used _rex_ more regularly.

The Principate (27 BC – 284 AD) period was succeeded by what is known as the Dominate
Dominate
(284 AD – 527 AD), during which Emperor Diocletian tried to put the Empire
Empire
on a more formal footing. Diocletian sought to address the challenges of the Empire's now vast geography and the instability caused by the informality of succession by the creation of co-emperors and junior emperors. At one point, there were as many as five sharers of the _imperium_ (see: Tetrarchy ). In 325 AD Constantine I
Constantine I
defeated his rivals and restored single emperor rule, but following his death the empire was divided among his sons. For a time the concept was of one empire ruled by multiple emperors with varying territory under their control, however following the death of Theodosius I the rule was divided between his two sons and increasingly became separate entities. The areas administered from Rome are referred to by historians the Western Roman Empire
Empire
and those under the immediate authority of Constantinople
Constantinople
called the Eastern Roman Empire
Empire
or (after the Battle of Yarmouk in 636 AD) the Later Roman or Byzantine Empire
Empire
. The subdivisions and co-emperor system were formally abolished by Emperor
Emperor
Zeno in 480 AD following the death of Julius Nepos last Western Emperor
Emperor
and the ascension of Odoacer as the _de facto_ King
King
of Italy in 476 AD.

BYZANTINE PERIOD

Main article: Byzantine Emperor
Byzantine Emperor

Before The 4th Crusade

Under Justinian I
Justinian I
, reigning in the 6th century, parts of Italy were for a few decades (re)conquered from the Ostrogoths : thus, this famous mosaic , featuring the Byzantine emperor in the center, can be admired at Ravenna
Ravenna
.

Historians generally refer to the continuing Roman Empire
Empire
in the east as the Byzantine Empire
Empire
after Byzantium
Byzantium
, the original name of the town that Constantine I
Constantine I
would elevate to the Imperial capital as New Rome in AD 330. (The city is more commonly called Constantinople
Constantinople
and is today named Istanbul
Istanbul
). Although the empire was again subdivided and a co-emperor sent to Italy at the end of the fourth century, the office became unitary again only 95 years later at the request of the Roman Senate
Roman Senate
and following the death of Julius Nepos , last Western Emperor. This change was a recognition of the reality that little remained of Imperial authority in the areas that had been the Western Empire, with even Rome and Italy itself now ruled by the essentially autonomous Odoacer .

These Later Roman "Byzantine" Emperors completed the transition from the idea of the Emperor
Emperor
as a semi-republican official to the Emperor as an absolute monarch . Of particular note was the translation of the Latin _Imperator_ into the Greek _ Basileus _, after Emperor
Emperor
Heraclius changed the official language of the empire from Latin to Greek in AD 620. Basileus, a title which had long been used for Alexander
Alexander
the Great was already in common usage as the Greek word for the Roman emperor, but its definition and sense was "King" in Greek, essentially equivalent with the Latin _Rex_. Byzantine period emperors also used the Greek word "autokrator", meaning "one who rules himself", or "monarch", which was traditionally used by Greek writers to translate the Latin _dictator _. Essentially, the Greek language did not incorporate the nuances of the Ancient Roman concepts that distinguished _imperium_ from other forms of political power.

In general usage, the Byzantine imperial title evolved from simply "emperor" (_basileus_), to "emperor of the Romans" (_basileus tōn Rōmaiōn_) in the 9th century, to "emperor and autocrat of the Romans" (_basileus kai autokratōr tōn Rōmaiōn_) in the 10th. In fact, none of these (and other) additional epithets and titles had ever been completely discarded.

One important distinction between the post Constantine I
Constantine I
(reigned AD 306–337) emperors and their pagan predecessors was cesaropapism , the assertion that the Emperor
Emperor
(or other head of state) is also the head of the Church. Although this principle was held by all emperors after Constantine, it met with increasing resistance and ultimately rejection by bishops in the west after the effective end of Imperial power there. This concept became a key element of the meaning of "emperor" in the Byzantine and Orthodox east, but went out of favor in the west with the rise of Roman Catholicism .

The Byzantine empire also produced three women who effectively governed the state: the Empress Irene and the Empresses Zoe and Theodora .

Latin Emperors

In 1204 Constantinople
Constantinople
fell to the Venetians and the Franks
Franks
in the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
. Following the tragedy of the horrific sacking of the city, the conquerors declared a new " Empire
Empire
of Romania", known to historians as the Latin Empire
Empire
of Constantinople
Constantinople
, installing Baldwin IX , Count
Count
of Flanders , as Emperor. However, Byzantine resistance to the new empire meant that it was in constant struggle to establish itself. Byzantine Emperor
Byzantine Emperor
Michael VIII Palaiologos succeeded in recapturing Constantinople
Constantinople
in 1261. The Principality of Achaea , a vassal state the empire had created in Morea
Morea
(Greece) intermittently continued to recognize the authority of the crusader emperors for another half century. Pretenders to the title continued among the European nobility until circa 1383.

After The 4th Crusade

With Constantinople
Constantinople
occupied, claimants to the imperial succession styled themselves as emperor in the chief centers of resistance: The Laskarid dynasty in the Empire
Empire
of Nicaea , the Komnenid dynasty in the Empire
Empire
of Trebizond and the Doukid dynasty in the Despotate of Epirus . In 1248, the Epirus recognized the Nicaean Emperors, who then recaptured Constantinople
Constantinople
in 1261. The Trebizond emperor formally submitted in Constantinople
Constantinople
in 1281, but frequently flouted convention by styling themselves emperor back in Trebizond thereafter.

OTTOMAN EMPIRE

Agostino Veneziano 's engraving of Ottoman emperor Suleiman the Magnificent. Note the four tiers on the helmet, which he had commissioned from Venice
Venice
, symbolizing his imperial power, and excelling the three-tiered papal tiara . This tiara was made for 115,000 ducats and offered to Suleiman by the French ambassador Antonio Rincon in 1532. This was a most atypical piece of headgear for a Turkish sultan, which he probably never normally wore, but which he placed beside him when receiving visitors, especially ambassadors. It was crowned with an enormous feather.

Ottoman rulers held several titles denoting their Imperial status. These included: Sultan
Sultan
, Khan , Sovereign
Sovereign
of the Imperial House of Osman , Sultan
Sultan
of Sultans , Khan of Khans , Commander of the Faithful and Successor of the Prophet of the Lord of the Universe , Protector of the Holy Cities of Mecca
Mecca
, Medina
Medina
and Jerusalem
Jerusalem
, Emperor
Emperor
of The Three Cities of Constantinople
Constantinople
, Adrianopole and Bursa
Bursa
as well as many other cities and countries.

After the Ottoman capture of Constantinople
Constantinople
in 1453, the Ottoman sultans began to style themselves KAYSAR-I RUM ( Emperor
Emperor
of the Romans) as they asserted themselves to be the heirs to the Roman empire by right of conquest. The title was of such importance to them that it led them to eliminate the various Byzantine successor states — and therefore rival claimants — over the next eight years. Though the term "emperor" was rarely used by Westerners of the Ottoman sultan, it was generally accepted by Westerners that he had imperial status.

HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE

Main article: Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor

The _Roman_ of the Emperor's title was a reflection of the _translatio imperii _ (_transfer of rule_) principle that regarded the Holy Roman Emperors as the inheritors of the title of Emperor
Emperor
of the Western Roman Empire
Empire
, despite the continued existence of the Roman Empire
Empire
in the east.

From the time of Otto the Great onward, much of the former Carolingian
Carolingian
kingdom of Eastern Francia became the Holy Roman Empire. The prince-electors elected one of their peers as King
King
of the Romans and King
King
of Italy before being crowned by the Pope
Pope
. The Emperor
Emperor
could also pursue the election of his heir (usually a son) as King, who would then succeed him after his death. This junior King
King
then bore the title of Roman King
King
( King
King
of the Romans). Although technically already ruling, after the election he would be crowned as emperor by the Pope. The last emperor to be crowned by the pope was Charles V ; all emperors after him were technically _emperors-elect_, but were universally referred to as _Emperor_.

AUSTRIAN EMPIRE

Main article: Emperor of Austria

The first Austrian Emperor
Emperor
was the last Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
Francis II. In the face of aggressions by Napoleon
Napoleon
, Francis feared for the future of the Holy Roman Empire
Empire
. He wished to maintain his and his family's Imperial status in the event that the Holy Roman Empire should be dissolved, as it indeed was in 1806 when an Austrian-led army suffered a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Austerlitz
Battle of Austerlitz
. After which, the victorious Napoleon
Napoleon
proceeded to dismantle the old _Reich_ by severing a good portion from the empire and turning it into a separate Confederation of the Rhine . With the size of his imperial realm significantly reduced, Francis II, _Holy Roman Emperor_ became Francis I, _ Emperor
Emperor
of Austria_. The new imperial title may have sounded less prestigious than the old one, but Francis' dynasty continued to rule from Austria and a Habsburg
Habsburg
monarch was still an emperor (_Kaiser_), and not just merely a king (_König_), in name.

The title lasted just a little over one century until 1918, but it was never clear what territory constituted the " Empire
Empire
of Austria ". When Francis took the title in 1804, the Habsburg
Habsburg
lands as a whole were dubbed the _Kaisertum Österreich_. _Kaisertum_ might literally be translated as "emperordom" (on analogy with "kingdom") or "emperor-ship"; the term denotes specifically "the territory ruled by an emperor", and is thus somewhat more general than Reich
Reich
, which in 1804 carried connotations of universal rule. Austria proper (as opposed to the complex of Habsburg
Habsburg
lands as a whole) had been an Archduchy since the 15th century, and most of the other territories of the Empire
Empire
had their own institutions and territorial history, although there were some attempts at centralization, especially during the reign of Marie Therese and her son Joseph II and then finalized in the early 19th century. When Hungary was given self-government in 1867, the non-Hungarian portions were called the Empire
Empire
of Austria and were officially known as the "Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council (_Reichsrat_)". The title of Emperor of Austria and the associated Empire
Empire
were both abolished at the end of the First World War in 1918, when German Austria became a republic and the other kingdoms and lands represented in the Imperial Council established their independence or adhesion to other states.

EMPERORS OF EUROPE

Byzantium
Byzantium
's close cultural and political interaction with its Balkan neighbors Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and Serbia
Serbia
, and with Russia (Kievan Rus', then Muscovy) led to the adoption of Byzantine imperial traditions in all of these countries.

BULGARIA

In 913, Simeon I of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
was crowned Emperor
Emperor
( Tsar
Tsar
) by the Patriarch of Constantinople
Constantinople
and imperial regent Nicholas Mystikos outside of the Byzantine capital. In its final simplified form, the title read " Emperor
Emperor
and Autocrat of all Bulgarians and Romans" (_Tsar i samodarzhets na vsichki balgari i gartsi_ in the modern vernacular). The Roman component in the Bulgarian imperial title indicated both rulership over Greek speakers and the derivation of the imperial tradition from the Romans, however this component was never recognised by the Byzantine court.

Byzantine recognition of Simeon's imperial title was revoked by the succeeding Byzantine government. The decade 914–924 was spent in destructive warfare between Byzantium
Byzantium
and Bulgaria
Bulgaria
over this and other matters of conflict. The Bulgarian monarch, who had further irritated his Byzantine counterpart by claiming the title " Emperor
Emperor
of the Romans" (_basileus tōn Rōmaiōn_), was eventually recognized, as " Emperor
Emperor
of the Bulgarians" (_basileus tōn Boulgarōn_) by the Byzantine Emperor
Byzantine Emperor
Romanos I Lakapenos in 924. Byzantine recognition of the imperial dignity of the Bulgarian monarch and the patriarchal dignity of the Bulgarian patriarch was again confirmed at the conclusion of permanent peace and a Bulgarian-Byzantine dynastic marriage in 927. In the meantime, the Bulgarian imperial title may have been also confirmed by the pope . The Bulgarian imperial title "tsar" was adopted by all Bulgarian monarchs up to the fall of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
under Ottoman rule. 14th-century Bulgarian literary compositions clearly denote the Bulgarian capital (Tarnovo ) as a successor of Rome and Constantinople
Constantinople
, in effect, the "Third Rome".

After Bulgaria
Bulgaria
obtained full independence from the Ottoman Empire
Empire
in 1908, its monarch, who was previously styled _Knyaz_, , took the traditional title of _Tsar_ and was recognized internationally as such.

FRANCE

The kings of the _ Ancien Régime _ and the July Monarchy
Monarchy
used the title _Empereur de France_ in diplomatic correspondence and treaties with the Ottoman emperor from at least 1673 onwards. The Ottomans insisted on this elevated style while refusing to recognize the Holy Roman Emperors or the Russian tsars because of their rival claims of the Roman crown . In short, it was an indirect insult by the Ottomans to the HRE and the Russians. The French kings also used it for Morocco (1682) and Persia
Persia
(1715).

First French Empire

See also: First French Empire
Empire
One of the most famous Imperial coronation ceremonies was that of Napoleon, crowning himself Emperor in the presence of Pope
Pope
Pius VII (who had blessed the regalia ), at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris . The painting by David commemorating the event is equally famous: the gothic cathedral restyled _style Empire
Empire
_, supervised by the mother of the Emperor
Emperor
on the balcony (a fictional addition, while she had not been present at the ceremony), the pope positioned near the altar, Napoleon
Napoleon
proceeds to crown his then wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais
Joséphine de Beauharnais
as Empress.

Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte
, who was already First Consul of the French Republic
Republic
(_Premier Consul de la République française_) for life, declared himself EMPEROR OF THE FRENCH (_Empereur des Français_) on 18 May 1804, thus creating the French Empire
Empire
(_ Empire
Empire
Français_).

Napoleon
Napoleon
relinquished the title of Emperor of the French
Emperor of the French
on 6 April and again on 11 April 1814. Napoleon's infant son, Napoleon
Napoleon
II , was recognized by the Council of Peers, as Emperor
Emperor
from the moment of his father's abdication, and therefore reigned (as opposed to ruled) as Emperor
Emperor
for fifteen days, 22 June to 7 July 1815.

Elba

Since 3 May 1814, the Sovereign
Sovereign
Principality of Elba
Elba
was created a miniature non-hereditary Monarchy
Monarchy
under the exiled French Emperor Napoleon
Napoleon
I. Napoleon
Napoleon
I was allowed, by the treaty of Fontainebleau with (27 April), to enjoy, for life, the imperial title. The islands were _not_ restyled an empire.

On 26 February 1815, Napoleon
Napoleon
abandoned Elba
Elba
for France, reviving the French Empire
Empire
for a Hundred Days
Hundred Days
; the Allies declared an end to Napoleon's sovereignty over Elba
Elba
on 25 March 1815, and on 31 March 1815 Elba
Elba
was ceded to the restored Grand Duchy of Tuscany by the Congress of Vienna. After his final defeat, Napoleon
Napoleon
was treated as a general by the British authorities during his second exile to Atlantic Isle of St. Helena . His title was a matter of dispute with the governor of St Helena, who insisted on addressing him as "General Bonaparte", despite the "historical reality that he had been an emperor" and therefore retained the title.

Second French Empire

See also: Second French Empire
Empire

Napoleon
Napoleon
I's nephew, Napoleon
Napoleon
III , resurrected the title of emperor on 2 December 1852, after establishing the Second French Empire
Empire
in a presidential coup , subsequently approved by a plebiscite. His reign was marked by large scale public works, the development of social policy, and the extension of France's influence throughout the world. During his reign, he also set about creating the Second Mexican Empire (headed by his choice of Maximilian I of Mexico , a member of the House of Habsburg
Habsburg
), to regain France's hold in the Americas and to achieve greatness for the 'Latin' race. Napoleon
Napoleon
III was deposed on 4 September 1870, after France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War . The Third Republic
Republic
followed and after the death of his son Napoleon
Napoleon
(IV), in 1879 during the Zulu War, the Bonapartist movement split, and the Third Republic
Republic
was to last until 1940.

IBERIAN PENINSULA

Spain

The origin of the title _ Imperator
Imperator
totius Hispaniae _ (Latin for _ Emperor
Emperor
of All Spain _ ) is murky. It was associated with the Leonese monarchy perhaps as far back as Alfonso the Great (_r._ 866–910). The last two kings of its Astur-Leonese dynasty were called emperors in a contemporary source.

King
King
Sancho III of Navarre conquered Leon in 1034 and began using it. His son, Ferdinand I of Castile also took the title in 1039. Ferdinand's son, Alfonso VI of León and Castile took the title in 1077. It then passed to his son-in-law, Alfonso I of Aragon in 1109. His stepson and Alfonso VI's grandson, Alfonso VII was the only one who actually had an imperial coronation in 1135.

The title was not exactly hereditary but self-proclaimed by those who had, wholly or partially, united the Christian northern part of the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
, often at the expense of killing rival siblings. The popes and Holy Roman emperors protested at the usage of the imperial title as a usurpation of leadership in western Christendom. After Alfonso VII's death in 1157, the title was abandoned, and the kings who used it are not commonly mentioned as having been "emperors", in Spanish or other historiography.

After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the legitimate heir to the throne, Andreas Palaiologos , willed away his claim to Ferdinand and Isabella in 1503.

Portugal

John VI , King
King
of Portugal and the Algarves , Emperor
Emperor
of Brazil .

After the independence and proclamation of the Empire
Empire
of Brazil from the Kingdom of Portugal by Prince
Prince
Pedro , who became Emperor, in 1822, his father, King
King
John VI of Portugal briefly held the honorific style of Titular Emperor of Brazil and the treatment of _His Imperial and Royal Majesty_ under the 1825 Treaty of Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
, by which Portugal recognized the independence of Brazil. The style of Titular Emperor
Emperor
was a life title, and became extinct upon the holder's demise. John VI held the imperial title for a few months only, from the ratification of the Treaty in November 1825 until his death in March 1826. During those months, however, as John's imperial title was purely honorific while his son, Pedro I, remained the sole monarch of the Brazilian Empire.

BRITAIN

Main article: British Emperor

In the late 3rd century, by the end of the epoch of the _barracks emperors_ in Rome, there were two Britannic Emperors , reigning for about a decade. After the end of Roman rule in Britain , the Imperator Cunedda forged the Kingdom of Gwynedd in northern Wales, but all his successors were titled kings and princes.

England

There was no set title for the king of England before 1066 and monarchs chose to style themselves as they pleased. Imperial titles were used inconsistently beginning with Athelstan
Athelstan
in 930 and ended with the Norman conquest of England . Empress Matilda (1102–1167) is the only British monarch commonly referred to as "emperor" or "empress", but acquired her title through her marriage to Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
.

During the rule of Henry VIII an Act of Parliament declared that 'this realm of England is an Empire...governed by one Supreme Head and King
King
having the dignity and royal estate of the imperial Crown of the same'. This was in the context of the divorce of Catherine of Aragon and the English Reformation , to emphasize that England had never accepted the quasi-imperial claims of the papacy. Hence England and, by extension its modern successor state, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is according to English law an Empire ruled by a King
King
endowed with the imperial dignity. However, this has not led to the creation of the _title_ of Emperor
Emperor
in England or in the United Kingdom itself.

United Kingdom

George V
George V
, King
King
of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions , Emperor of India .

In 1801, George III rejected the title of Emperor
Emperor
when offered. The only period when British monarchs held the title of _Emperor_ in a dynastic succession started when the title Empress of India was created for Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
. The government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli , conferred the additional title upon her by an Act of Parliament, reputedly to assuage the monarch's irritation at being, as a mere Queen, notionally inferior to her own daughter (Princess Victoria , who was the wife of the reigning German Emperor
German Emperor
); the Indian Imperial designation was also formally justified as the expression of Britain succeeding the former Mughal Emperor
Mughal Emperor
as suzerain over hundreds of princely states . The title was relinquished by George VI
George VI
when India became independent on 15 August 1947.

The last Empress of India was George VI's wife, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother .

GERMAN EMPIRE

Main article: German Empire
Empire
Wilhelm II , German Emperor
German Emperor
and the King
King
of Prussia .

Under the guise of idealism giving way to realism, German nationalism rapidly shifted from its liberal and democratic character in 1848 to Prussian prime minister Otto von Bismarck 's authoritarian _ Realpolitik _. Bismarck wanted to unify the rival German states to achieve his aim of a conservative, Prussian-dominated Germany. Three wars led to military successes and helped to convince German people to do this: the Second war of Schleswig against Denmark in 1864, the Austro-Prussian War against Austria in 1866, and the Franco-Prussian War against the Second French Empire
Empire
in 1870–71. During the Siege of Paris in 1871, the North German Confederation , supported by its allies from southern Germany , formed the German Empire
Empire
with the proclamation of the Prussian king Wilhelm I as German Emperor
German Emperor
in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles
Palace of Versailles
, to the humiliation of the French, who ceased to resist only days later.

After his death he was succeeded by his son Frederick III who was only emperor for 99 days. In the same year his son Wilhelm II became the third emperor within a year. He was the last German emperor. After the empire's defeat in World War I the empire ceased to exist.

RUSSIA

Empress of Russia Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great

In 1472, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor, Sophia Palaiologina , married Ivan III , grand prince of Moscow, who began championing the idea of Russia being the successor to the Byzantine Empire. This idea was represented more emphatically in the composition the monk Filofej addressed to their son Vasili III . After ending Muscovy's dependence on its Mongol
Mongol
overlords in 1480, Ivan III began the usage of the titles Tsar
Tsar
and Autocrat (_samoderzhets_ ). His insistence on recognition as such by the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
Empire
since 1489 resulted in the granting of this recognition in 1514 by Emperor Maximilian I to Vasili III. His son Ivan IV emphatically crowned himself Tsar
Tsar
of Russia on 16 January 1547. The word "Tsar" derives from Latin Caesar, but this title was used in Russia as equivalent to "King"; the error occurred when medieval Russian clerics referred to the biblical Jewish kings with the same title that was used to designate Roman and Byzantine rulers — "Caesar".

On 31 October 1721, Peter I was proclaimed Emperor
Emperor
by the Senate. The title used was Latin "_Imperator_", which is a westernizing form equivalent to the traditional Slavic title "_Tsar_". He based his claim partially upon a letter discovered in 1717 written in 1514 from Maximilian I to Vasili III, in which the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
used the term in referring to Vasili.

A formal address to the ruling Russian monarch adopted thereafter was 'Your Imperial Majesty'. The crown prince was addressed as 'Your Imperial Highness'.

The title has not been used in Russia since the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II on 15 March 1917.

Imperial Russia produced four reigning Empresses, all in the eighteenth century.

SERBIA

Main article: Emperor
Emperor
of Serbia
Serbia

In 1345, the Serbian King
King
Stefan Uroš IV Dušan proclaimed himself Emperor
Emperor
( Tsar
Tsar
) and was crowned as such at Skopje
Skopje
on Easter
Easter
1346 by the newly created Serbian Patriarch , and by the Patriarch of Bulgaria and the autocephalous Archbishop of Ohrid. His imperial title was recognized by Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and various other neighbors and trading partners but not by the Byzantine Empire. In its final simplified form, the Serbian imperial title read " Emperor
Emperor
of Serbs and Greeks" (_цар Срба и Грка_ in modern Serbian). It was only employed by Stefan Uroš IV Dušan and his son Stefan Uroš V in Serbia
Serbia
(until his death in 1371), after which it became extinct. A half-brother of Dušan, Simeon Uroš , and then his son Jovan Uroš , claimed the same title, until the latter's abdication in 1373, while ruling as dynasts in Thessaly
Thessaly
. The "Greek" component in the Serbian imperial title indicates both rulership over Greeks and the derivation of the imperial tradition from the Romans.

EMPERORS IN THE AMERICAS

PRE-COLUMBIAN TRADITIONS

The Aztec and Inca traditions are unrelated to one another. Both were conquered under the reign of King
King
Charles I of Spain who was simultaneously emperor-elect of the Holy Roman Empire
Empire
during the fall of the Aztecs and fully emperor during the fall of the Incas. Incidentally by being king of Spain, he was also Roman (Byzantine) emperor in pretence through Andreas Palaiologos . The translations of their titles were provided by the Spanish.

Aztec Empire

The only pre-Columbian North American rulers to be commonly called emperors were the _ Hueyi Tlatoani _ of the Aztec Empire
Empire
(1375–1521). It was an elected monarchy chosen by the elite. Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés slew Emperor
Emperor
Cuauhtémoc and installed puppet rulers who became vassals for Spain.

Inca Empire

The only pre-Columbian South American rulers to be commonly called emperors were the _ Sapa Inca _ of the Inca Empire
Empire
(1438–1533). Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro
, conquered the Inca for Spain, killed Emperor
Emperor
Atahualpa
Atahualpa
, and installed puppets as well. Atahualpa may actually be considered a usurper as he had achieved power by killing his half-brother and he did not perform the required coronation with the imperial crown _mascaipacha _ by the _Huillaq Uma_ (high priest).

POST-COLUMBIAN AMERICAS

Brazil

Pedro II , Emperor of Brazil in regalia at the opening of the General Assembly (oil painting by Pedro Américo ).

When Napoleon
Napoleon
I ordered the invasion of Portugal in 1807 because it refused to join the Continental System
Continental System
, the Portuguese Braganzas moved their capital to Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
to avoid the fate of the Spanish Bourbons ( Napoleon
Napoleon
I arrested them and made his brother Joseph king). When the French general Jean-Andoche Junot arrived in Lisbon
Lisbon
, the Portuguese fleet had already left with all the local elite.

In 1808, under a British naval escort, the fleet arrived in Brazil. Later, in 1815, the Portuguese Prince
Prince
Regent (since 1816 King
King
João VI ) proclaimed the _United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves _, as a union of three kingdoms, lifting Brazil from its colonial status.

After the fall of Napoleon
Napoleon
I and the Liberal revolution in Portugal, the Portuguese royal family returned to Europe
Europe
(1821). Prince
Prince
Pedro of Braganza ( King
King
João's older son) stayed in South America acting as regent of the local kingdom, but, two years later in 1822, he proclaimed himself Pedro I , first Emperor of Brazil . He did, however, recognize his father, João VI, as _Titular Emperor
Emperor
of Brazil_ —a purely honorific title—until João VI's death in 1826.

The empire came to an end in 1889, with the overthrow of Emperor Pedro II (Pedro I's son and successor), when the Brazilian republic was proclaimed.

Haiti

Haiti
Haiti
was declared an empire by its ruler, Jean-Jacques Dessalines , who made himself Jacques I, on 20 May 1805. He was assassinated the next year. Haiti
Haiti
again became an empire from 1849 to 1859 under Faustin Soulouque
Faustin Soulouque
.

Mexico

Portrait of Maximilian I of Mexico , by Franz Xaver Winterhalter

In Mexico, the First Mexican Empire
Empire
was the first of two empires created. After the declaration of independence on September 15, 1821, it was the intention of the Mexican parliament to establish a commonwealth whereby the King
King
of Spain, Ferdinand VII , would also be Emperor of Mexico , but in which both countries were to be governed by separate laws and with their own legislative offices. Should the king refuse the position, the law provided for a member of the House of Bourbon to accede to the Mexican throne.

Ferdinand VII, however, did not recognize the independence and said that Spain would not allow any other European prince to take the throne of Mexico. By request of Parliament, the president of the regency Agustín de Iturbide was proclaimed emperor of Mexico on 12 July 1822 as Agustín I . Agustín de Iturbide was the general who helped secure Mexican independence from Spanish rule, but was overthrown by the Plan of Casa Mata .

In 1863, the invading French, under Napoleon
Napoleon
III (see above), in alliance with Mexican conservatives and nobility , helped create the Second Mexican Empire
Empire
, and invited Archduke
Archduke
Maximilian, of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine , younger brother of the Austrian Emperor
Emperor
Franz Josef I , to become emperor Maximilian I of Mexico . The childless Maximilian and his consort Empress Carlota of Mexico , daughter of Leopold I of Belgium , adopted Agustín's grandsons Agustin and Salvador as his heirs to bolster his claim to the throne of Mexico. Maximilian and Carlota made Chapultepec Castle
Chapultepec Castle
their home, which has been the only palace in North America to house sovereigns. After the withdrawal of French protection in 1867, Maximilian was captured and executed by the liberal forces of Benito Juárez .

This empire led to French influence in the Mexican culture and also immigration from France , Belgium, and Switzerland to Mexico.

PERSIA (IRAN)

Further information: Shah
Shah
and King
King
of Kings

In Persia
Persia
, from the time of Darius the Great , Persian rulers used the title " King
King
of Kings " (_Shahanshah _ in Persian) since they had dominion over peoples from the borders of India to the borders of Greece and Egypt. Alexander
Alexander
probably crowned himself _shahanshah_ after conquering Persia, bringing the phrase _basileus toon basileoon_ to Greek. It is also known that Tigranes the Great , king of Armenia, was named as the king of kings when he made his empire after defeating the Parthians . Georgian title "mephet'mephe" has the same meaning.

The last _shahanshah_ (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) was ousted in 1979 following the Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
. _Shahanshah_ is usually translated as _king of kings_ or simply _king_ for ancient rulers of the Achaemenid
Achaemenid
, Arsacid , and Sassanid
Sassanid
dynasties, and often shortened to _shah_ for rulers since the Safavid
Safavid
dynasty in the 16th century. Iranian rulers were typically regarded in the West as emperors.

INDIAN SUBCONTINENT

Main article: Chakravartin
Chakravartin

The Sanskrit word for emperor is _Samrāṭ_ (word stem: _samrāj_) or _Chakravarti_. This word has been used as an epithet of various Vedic deities, like Varuna, and has been attested in the Rig-Veda , possibly the oldest compiled book among the Indo-Europeans. _Chakravarti_ refers to the king of kings. A _Chakravarti_ is not only a sovereign ruler but also has feudatories.

Typically, in the later Vedic age, a Hindu high king (_Maharajah_) was only called _Samrāṭ_ after performing the Vedic _ Rajasuya
Rajasuya
_ sacrifice, enabling him by religious tradition to claim superiority over the other kings and princes. Another word for emperor is _sārvabhaumā_. The title of _Samrāṭ_ has been used by many rulers of the Indian subcontinent as claimed by the Hindu mythologies. In proper history, most historians call Chandragupta Maurya
Chandragupta Maurya
the first _samrāṭ_ (emperor) of the Indian subcontinent, because of the huge empire he ruled. The most famous emperor was his grandson Ashoka the Great . Other dynasties that are considered imperial by historians are the Kushanas , Guptas , Vijayanagara , Kakatiya , Hoysala and the Cholas .

Rudhramadevi (1259–1289) was one of the most prominent rulers of the Kakatiya dynasty on the Deccan Plateau, being one of the few ruling queens (empress) in Indian history.

After India was invaded by the Mongol
Mongol
Khans and Turkic Muslims, the rulers of their major states on the subcontinent were titled _Sultān_, In this manner, the only empress-regnant ever to have actually sat on the throne of Delhi was Razia Sultan
Sultan
. The Mughal Emperors were the only Indian rulers for whom the term was consistently used by Western contemporaries. For the period from 1877 to 1947 when British Emperors ruled British India
British India
as the pearl in the crown of the British Empire, see above.

AFRICA

ETHIOPIA

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Main article: Emperor of Ethiopia
Emperor of Ethiopia
Haile Selassie , Emperor
Emperor
of Ethiopia
Ethiopia
from 1930 to 1974.

In Ethiopia
Ethiopia
, the Solomonic dynasty
Solomonic dynasty
used, beginning in 1270, the title of "nəgusä nägäst" which is literally " King
King
of Kings". The use of the _king of kings_ style began a millennium earlier in this region, however, with the title being used by the Kings of Aksum , beginning with Sembrouthes in the 3rd century. Another title used by this dynasty was "Itegue Zetopia".

"Itegue" translates as Empress, and was also used by the only female reigning Empress, Zauditu , along with the official title _Negiste Negest_ (Queen of Kings).

In 1936, the Italian king Victor Emmanuel III claimed the title of Emperor of Ethiopia
Emperor of Ethiopia
after Ethiopia
Ethiopia
was occupied by Italy during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War
Second Italo-Abyssinian War
. After the defeat of the Italians by the British and the Ethiopians in 1941, Haile Selassie was restored to the throne but Victor Emmanuel did not relinquish his claim to the title until 1943.

CENTRAL AFRICAN EMPIRE

Main article: Emperor of Central Africa

In 1976, President Jean-Bédel Bokassa of the Central African Republic
Republic
, proclaimed the country to be an autocratic Central African Empire
Empire
, and made himself Emperor
Emperor
as Bokassa I. The expenses of his coronation ceremony actually bankrupted the country. He was overthrown three years later and the republic was restored.

EAST ASIAN TRADITION

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The rulers of China and (once Westerners became aware of the role) Japan were always accepted in the West as emperors, and referred to as such. The claims of other East Asian
East Asian
monarchies to the title may have been accepted for diplomatic purposes, but it was not necessarily used in more general contexts.

CHINA

Main article: Emperor of China Qin Shi Huang

The East Asian
East Asian
tradition is different from the Roman tradition, having arisen separately. What links them together is the use of the Chinese logographs 皇 (_huáng_) and 帝 (_dì_) which together or individually are imperial. Because of the cultural influence of China, China's neighbors adopted these titles or had their native titles conform in _hanzi _. Anyone who spoke to the emperor was to address him as bìxià (陛下, lit. the "Bottom of the Steps"), corresponding to "Imperial Majesty "; shèngshàng (聖上, lit. Holy Highness); or wànsuì (萬歲, lit. "You, of Ten Thousand Years").

In 221 BC, Ying Zheng , who was king of Qin at the time, proclaimed himself _ Shi Huangdi _ (始皇帝), which translates as "first emperor". _Huangdi_ is composed of _huang_ ("august one", 皇) and _di_ ("sage-king", 帝), and referred to legendary/mythological sage-emperors living several millennia earlier, of which three were _huang_ and five were _di_. Thus Zheng became Qin Shi Huang , abolishing the system where the _huang_/_di_ titles were reserved to dead and/or mythological rulers. Since then, the title "king" became a lower ranked title, and later divided into two grades. Although not as popular, the title 王 _wang_ (king or prince) was still used by many monarchs and dynasties in China up to the Taipings in the 19th century. 王 is pronounced _vương_ in Vietnamese, _ō_ in Japanese, and _wang_ in Korean.

The imperial title continued in China until the Qing Dynasty
Dynasty
was overthrown in 1912. The title was briefly revived from 12 December 1915 to 22 March 1916 by President Yuan Shikai
Yuan Shikai
and again in early July 1917 when General Zhang Xun attempted to restore last Qing emperor Puyi to the throne. Puyi retained the title and attributes of a foreign emperor, as a personal status, until 1924. After the Japanese occupied Manchuria
Manchuria
in 1931, they proclaimed it to be the Empire
Empire
of Manchukuo
Manchukuo
, and Puyi became emperor of Manchukuo. This empire ceased to exist when it was occupied by the Soviet Red Army
Red Army
in 1945.

In general, an emperor would have one empress (_Huanghou_, 皇后) at one time, although posthumous entitlement to empress for a concubine was not uncommon. The earliest known usage of _huanghou_ was in the Han Dynasty
Dynasty
. The emperor would generally select the empress from his concubines . In subsequent dynasties, when the distinction between wife and concubine became more accentuated, the crown prince would have chosen an empress-designate before his reign. Imperial China produced only one reigning empress, Wu Zetian , and she used the same Chinese title as an emperor (_Huangdi_, 皇帝). Wu Zetian then reigned for about 15 years (690–705 AD).

JAPAN

Main article: Emperor of Japan _ Emperor Hirohito (裕仁), or the Shōwa Emperor (昭和天皇), the last Japanese Emperor
Emperor
having ruled with prerogative powers, combined with assumption of divinity (photographed 1926).

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The earliest Emperor
Emperor
recorded in Kojiki and Nihon Shoki
Nihon Shoki
is Emperor Jimmu , who is said to be a descendant of Amaterasu 's grandson Ninigi who descended from Heaven ( Tenson kōrin ). If one believes what is written in Nihon Shoki
Nihon Shoki
, the Emperors have an unbroken direct male lineage that goes back more than 2,600 years.

In ancient Japan, the earliest titles for the sovereign were either ヤマト大王/大君 (_yamato ōkimi_, Grand King
King
of Yamato), 倭王/倭国王 (_waō_/_wakokuō_, King
King
of Wa, used externally), or 治天下大王 (_amenoshita shiroshimesu ōkimi_, Grand King
King
who rules all under heaven, used internally). As early as the 7th century the word 天皇 (which can be read either as _sumera no mikoto_, divine order, or as _tennō_, Heavenly Emperor, the latter being derived from a Tang Chinese term referring to the Pole star around which all other stars revolve) began to be used. The earliest use of this term is found on a wooden slat, or _mokkan _, unearthed in Asuka-mura, Nara Prefecture in 1998. The slat dated back to the reign of Emperor Tenmu
Emperor Tenmu
and Empress Jitō
Empress Jitō
. The reading 'Tennō' has become the standard title for the Japanese sovereign up to the present age. The term 帝 (_mikado_, Emperor) is also found in literary sources.

Japanese monarchs were given their official title by the Chinese emperor. The new Japanese monarch after coming into power would send a representative to China and receive the anointment. They would receive their official title on several golden plates of several meters tall. Since the Japanese monarchs changed their title to 天皇 (Heavenly Emperor) in 607, the Chinese emperor refused to anoint the Japanese king, thus, ending relations with Japan for the next few hundred years. Although the Japanese emperors used Chinese imperial titles,, rarely was the Chinese-style "Son of Heaven " used. In the Japanese language, the word _tennō_ is restricted to Japan's own monarch; _kōtei_ (皇帝) is used for foreign emperors. Historically, retired emperors often kept power over a child-emperor as de facto regent. For a fairly long time, a shōgun (formally the imperial generalissimo, but made hereditary) or an imperial regent wielded actual political power. In fact, through much of Japanese history, the emperor has been little more than a figurehead.

After World War II, all claims of divinity were dropped (see Ningen-sengen ). The Diet acquired all prerogative powers of the Crown, reverting the latter to a ceremonial role. By the end of the 20th century, Japan was the only country with an emperor on the throne.

As of the early 21st century, Japan's succession law prohibits a female from ascending the throne. With the birth of a daughter as the first child of the current Crown Prince
Prince
, Naruhito , Japan considered abandoning that rule . However, shortly after the announcement that Princess Kiko was pregnant with her third child , the proposal to alter the Imperial Household Law was suspended by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi . On 3 January 2007, after the birth of her son, Prince
Prince
Hisahito , Prime Minister
Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe
Shinzo Abe
announced that he would drop the proposal.

Currently, many believe the new prince of Japan will ascend the throne, as the law defines. Historically, Japan has had eight reigning empresses who used the genderless title _Tennō_, rather than the female consort title _kōgō_ (皇后) or _chūgū_ (中宮). There is ongoing discussion of the Japanese Imperial succession controversy . Although current Japanese law prohibits female succession, all Japanese emperors claim to trace their lineage to _ Amaterasu _, the Sun Goddess of the Shintō religion . Thus, the Emperor
Emperor
is thought to be the highest authority of the Shinto
Shinto
religion, and one of his duties is to perform Shinto
Shinto
rituals for the people of Japan.

KOREA

Emperor Gojong of the Korean Empire
Empire

The rulers of Goguryeo (37 BC-668 AD) used the title of _ Taewang _ ( Hangul : 태왕, Hanja :太王), literally translated as the _Greatest of the Kings_. Also some Silla
Silla
(57 BC-935 AD) rulers including Beopheung and Jinheung used this title for their declaration of independence from the influence of Goguryeo .

The rulers of Balhae
Balhae
(698–926) internally called themselves _Seongwang_ ( Hangul : 성왕, Hanja : 聖王). In the 10th century, Gwangjong of Goryeo took the title of emperor himself as a means of enhancing the prestige of the monarchy, and it was first used in Korea. Many Goryeo sovereign alternately used both supreme king and emperor. After the Mongolian invasions (1231–1258), however, Korea relinquished the imperial title.

The rulers of the Joseon Dynasty
Dynasty
(1392–1897) still used the term " King
King
of the Joseon" ( Hangul : 조선국왕, Hanja : 朝鮮國王). In the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894–'95, Japan defeated the Qing Dynasty
Dynasty
China, and the Treaty of Shimonoseki was concluded in which Japan had China recognize the independence and autonomy of Korea. However, King
King
Gojong used term of "His Majesty the Great Monarch" ( Hangul : 대군주폐하, Hanja : 大君主陛下), not an official imperial title.

In 1897, King
King
Gojong proclaimed the founding of the Korean Empire (1897–1910), and became emperor of Korea. Emperor Gojong declared the new era name "Gwangmu" ( Hangul : 광무, Hanja : 光武, Warrior of light). The Korean Empire
Empire
maintained their state until 1910 — though it was an Empire
Empire
by name, it was in fact in the process of being absorbed by Japan.

MONGOLIA

Pre- Mongol
Mongol
Kingdoms such as the Xiongnu used the title "Chanu" meaning "Ruler of all" in old Mongolian. However it was not until the Chanu name was dropped and instead replaced by "Khan" that the rulers of Mongolia claimed the divine right as the ruler of all under the blue sky, this rule was closely tied with the ancient religious beliefs of the people of Mongolia ( Tengrism ). The title Khagan (khan of khans or grand khan) was held by Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
, founder of the Mongol
Mongol
Empire
Empire
in 1206. After 1271, the emperors of the Yuan Dynasty also took the Chinese title _huangdi_, or Chinese emperor . Only the Khagans from Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
to the fall of the Yuan Dynasty
Dynasty
in 1368 are normally referred to as Emperors in English.

VIETNAM

Bảo Đại , the last Emperor
Emperor
of Vietnam

Ngô Quyền, the first ruler of Đại Việt as an independent state, used the title _Vương_ (王, _King_). However, after the death of Ngô Quyền, the country immersed in a civil war known as Chaos of the 12 Lords that lasted for over 20 years. In the end, Đinh Bộ Lĩnh unified the country after defeating all the warlords and became the first ruler of Đại Việt to use the title _Hoàng Đế_ (皇帝, _Emperor_) in 968. Succeeding rulers in Vietnam then continued to use this Emperor
Emperor
title until 1806 when this title was stopped being used for a century.

Đinh Bộ Lĩnh wasn't the first to claim the title of _Đế_ (帝, _Emperor_). Before him, Lý Bí and Mai Thúc Loan also claimed this title. However, their rules were very short lived.

The Vietnamese emperors also gave this title to their ancestors who were lords or influence figures in the previous dynasty like the Chinese emperors. This practice is one of many indications of the idea "Vietnam's equality with China" which remained intact up to the twentieth century.

In 1802 the newly established Nguyễn dynasty requested canonization from Chinese Jiaqing Emperor and received the title _Quốc Vương_ (國王, _ King
King
of a State)_ and the name of the country as _An Nam_ (安南) instead _Đại Việt_ (大越). To avoid unnecessary armed conflicts, the Vietnamese rulers accepted this in diplomatic relation and use the title Emperor
Emperor
only domestically. However, Vietnamese rulers never accepted the vassalage relationship with China and always refused to come to Chinese courts to pay homage to Chinese rulers (a sign of vassalage acceptance). China waged a number of wars against Vietnam throughout history, and after each failure, settled for the tributary relationship. The Yuan dynasty under Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan
waged three wars against Vietnam to force it into a vassalage relationship but after successive failures, Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan
's successor, Temür Khan , finally settled for a tributary relationship with Vietnam. Vietnam sent tributary missions to China once in three years (with some periods of disruptions) until the 19th century, Sino-French War France replaced China in control of northern Vietnam.

The emperors of the last dynasty of Vietnam continued to hold this title until the French conquered Vietnam. The emperor, however, was then a puppet figure only and could easily be disposed of by the French for more pro-France figure. Japan took Vietnam from France and the Axis -occupied Vietnam was declared an empire by the Japanese in March 1945. The line of emperors came to an end with Bảo Đại , who was deposed after the war, although he later served as head of state of South Vietnam
South Vietnam
from 1949-55.

OCEANIA

The lone holders of the imperial title in Oceania
Oceania
were the heads of the semi-mythical Tuʻi Tonga Empire
Empire
.

FICTIONAL USES

There have been many fictional emperors in movies and books. To see a list of these emperors, see Category
Category
of fictional emperors and empresses .

SEE ALSO

* Auctoritas
Auctoritas
* Lists of emperors

NOTES

* ^ Harper, Douglas. "emperor". _ Online Etymology Dictionary _. Retrieved 2010-08-30. * ^ George Ostrogorsky , "Avtokrator i samodržac", _Glas Srpske kraljevske akadamije_ CLXIV, Drugi razdred 84 (1935), 95–187 * ^ Nicol, Donald MacGillivray, _The Last Centuries of Byzantium_, second edition (Cambridge: University Press, 1993), p. 74 * ^ Agostino never saw the Sultan, but probably did see and sketch the helmet in Venice. * ^ The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1968. "Turquerie" _The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin_, New Series 26 (5): 229. * ^ Garnier, p.52 * ^ Levey, 65. * ^ _Napoleon_, Vincent Cronin, p419, HarperCollins, 1994. * ^ _Napoleon_, Frank McLynn, p644, Pimlico 1998 * ^ _Le Mémorial de Sainte Hélène_, Emmanuel De Las Cases, Tome III, page101, published by Jean De Bonnot, Libraire à l'enseigne du canon, 1969 * ^ Appelbaum, Nancy P.; Macpherson, Anne S.; Rosemblatt, Karin Alejandra (2003). _Race and nation in modern Latin America_. UNC Press Books. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-8078-5441-9 . * ^ Notice that, before the emergence of the modern country of Spain (beginning with the union of Castile and Aragon
Aragon
in 1492), the Latin word _ Hispania
Hispania
_, in any of the Iberian Romance languages , either in singular or plural forms (in English: Spain or Spains), was used to refer to the whole of the Iberian Peninsula, and not exclusively, as in modern usage, to the country of Spain, thus excluding Portugal. * ^ Vadala, Alexander
Alexander
Attilio (2011-01-01). "Elite Distinction and Regime Change: The Ethiopian Case". _Comparative Sociology_. 10 (4): 636–653. ISSN 1569-1330 . doi :10.1163/156913311X590664 . * ^ Lentz, Harris M (1994-01-01). _Heads of states and governments: a worldwide encyclopedia of over 2,300 leaders, 1945 through 1992_. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. ISBN 0899509266 . * ^ "Once upon a time, China anointed a \' King
King
of Japan\' - The Japan Times". _The Japan Times_. * ^ Although the Emperor of Japan is classified as constitutional monarch among political scientists, the current constitution of Japan defines him only as 'a symbol of the nation' and no subsequent legislation states his status as the (head of state ) or equates the Crown synonymously with any government establishment. * ^ https://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070103/ap_on_re_as/japan_imperial_succession * ^ New Book of Tang vol.209 * ^ Tuyet Nhung Tran, Anthony J. S. Reid (2006), _Việt Nam Borderless Histories_, Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, p. 67, ISBN 978-0-299-21770-9

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Emperor
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